Background: Medicine Access Programs (MAPs) provide patients the opportunity to access novel therapies not available via the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS), either at zero or reduced cost to the hospital. At our institution, MAPs were previously administered by senior pharmacy management however overtime this model has become unsustainable. Here we describe the role of a dedicated MAP pharmacist, developed to manage the increasing workload associated with both the increasing number of MAPs and the diversity of program administration requirements.
Methods: Development of a dedicated MAP pharmacist role within the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (PMCC) Pharmacy department to manage the administrative requirements of MAPs.
Results: The MAP pharmacist role includes creating databases to assist with stock management, developing dispensing guidelines, ensuring patient information is available, and ensuring MAP are set up in a sustainable manner for the hospital. There is no remuneration to support the employment of a MAP pharmacist however the role has ensured patients at PMCC have timely and affordable (or free) access to novel medicines, and has released time for senior management and other clinical pharmacy staff. In the last financial year the number of MAP patients at PMCC has increased significantly with 554 patients registered on MAP (42% increase from 2015-16), 3661 dispensed episodes for MAP patients (89% increase from 2015-16), and 70 MAPs supported (13% increase from 2015-16). The total estimated cost of drug utilised was AUD$25.9M (22% increase from 2015-16), not including 6 drugs yet to go to market and without pricing data.
Conclusions: The implementation of the MAP pharmacist role has permitted an increasing number of patients to access novel therapies, ensured stock maintenance and provided an opportunity for pharmacists to be involved in the provision of novel treatments to patients.