In March 2007, following an extensive tendering process by the Australian Government, AHA was appointed as the independent Administration Agency for the Community Service Obligation (CSO) Funding Pool. AHA was recently reappointed until June 2015, under the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement (5CPA).
The CSO Funding Pool began on 1 July 2006 and was established under the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement (4CPA) between the Australian Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. The CSO Funding Pool provides indexed funding of $150 million a year to eligible CSO Distributors that meet specific Service Standards for the delivery of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines to community pharmacies.
The purpose of the CSO Funding Pool is to ensure that all Australians have timely access to the PBS medicines they need, regardless of where they live. The CSO Funding Pool makes it commercially viable for pharmaceutical wholesalers to supply the full range of PBS medicines to pharmacies across Australia, regardless of pharmacy location and the relative cost of supply. Under these arrangements, payments are provided directly to wholesalers who supply the full range of PBS medicines to any pharmacy, usually within 24 hours, and who meet certain service standards. These payments are over and above those made directly to pharmacists to cover the costs of supply from the wholesaler.
Administration of the Funding Pool involves several complex functions, including:
- undertaking payment calculations
- monitoring the performance of eligible CSO Distributors against specific service standards
- administering a complaints process and sanctions framework.
The CSO Service Standards and CSO Compliance Requirements define the minimum services, standards and operating arrangements and include a requirement to stock the full range of PBS items (as defined under the CSO) and to deliver them to any pharmacy in Australia (except a few very remote locations) generally within 24 hours of ordering from regular order cut-off time.
The CSO Service Standards are:
- Supply any Community Pharmacy within their national or state based CSO jurisdiction, including Rural and Remote pharmacies.
- Supply any brand of any PBS Medicine (as defined under the CSO) on request.
- Maintain specified stocks of PBS Medicines.
- Supply Low Volume PBS Medicines.
- Supply PBS Medicines at or below the Approved Price to Pharmacist.
- Supply PBS Medicines generally within 24 hours.
- Make available a daily delivery service to Community Pharmacies within their CSO jurisdiction as part of its standard service delivery infrastructure.
AHA is currently ensuring that the aims of the CSO Funding Pool are met by working objectively and independently to efficiently carry out the above administrative functions. Our team includes Mr Grant McKirdy
who has over 19 years senior experience in pharmaceutical manufacturing and wholesale distribution.
Detailed information regarding the operation of the CSO Funding Pool and the obligations of CSO Distributors is available at the Department of Health and Ageing's website
and at the new 5CPA website.
Community Pharmacies are able to lodge a complaint about the performance of any CSO Distributor /Wholesaler against the CSO Service Standards and Compliance Requirements. Complaints can be lodged in writing, either electronically or in hard copy, to the following address:
Complaints Officer, CSO Funding Pool Administration Agency
Locked Bag 32005, Collins Street East, VIC 8003
Or we can be contacted on 1300 309 213. Further detail about lodging a complaint are provided as follows: