Australia’s Commonwealth Government has provided funding of up to A$72.9 million (€43.9 million) to the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) for a programme aimed at helping patients to manage their medication.

The Dose Administration Aids (DAA) programme is eligible for central government funding under the 4th Community Pharmacy Agreement signed by the PGA and the Commonwealth Government in November 2005. The agreement, which runs from 1 December 2005 to 30 June 2010, recognised that beneficial health outcomes could be achieved through the delivery of evidence-based professional pharmacy programmes and services.

Accordingly, it included total funding of A$500 million towards these ends, A$100 million more than the comparable funds provided under the 3rd Community Pharmacy Agreement. Among the new professional pharmacy services considered and approved under the 4th Agreement was the DAA programme, whereby community pharmacists help patients by packaging their medication in individual doses, arranged according to the patient’s daily dose schedule.

This could be either a unit-dose pack (just one type of medication per dose compartment) or a multi-dose pack (different types of medication in each compartment). According to the PGA, more than 140,000 Australians have to go to hospital each year with problems caused by their medication. In up to 69% of these cases, the Guild says, the problem could have been avoided.

Participation in the DAA programme is open to all community pharmacies in Australia, with the relevant kit due to be posted out during September and October. Pharmacies are eligible for payments of up to A$13,700 over the course of the 4th Agreement. First, though, they need to register with the Department of Health and Ageing. There is a further obligation to provide complete and timely data while the DAA programme is running.