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a pound symbol image 2January 31 2018

PSNC has announced it is seeking a fairer price concession system for generic medicines reimbursement and is in ongoing discussions with Whitehall.

Concession prices are meant to be agreed each month where remuneration prices listed in the Drug Tariff are considered below the prices pharmacy contractors are are actually having to pay for the dispensing stock. In recent months, there have long lists of drugs being considered for concession prices, with the situation compounded by a supply problem but not reflected in Drug Tariff prices.

PSNC says it is “seeking a system that is more responsive to price rises, and ensures community pharmacy contractors do not carry unreasonable costs on behalf of the NHS.

“The numbers of products and levels of price increases since summer 2017 have caused a substantial increase in the NHS drugs bill. It is also continuing to cause considerable problems for contractors, who are already under massive pressure following Government cuts to funding and recovery of excess margin earned in previous years. PSNC has been working to ensure that the Department of Health and Social Care is aware of the hardship the price rises are imposing on contractors.”

The process for considering a concession price for a medicines item originates with PSNC monitoring the market and alerting the DHSC which then assesses price data it collects from manufacturers and wholesalers.

Following initial discussions, PSNC says it has agreed “key principles for a fair system, recognising the need for the NHS to continue to meet affordability challenges for medicines. The principles include:

  • community pharmacy contractors must not be the victims of adverse events or activity further up the supply chain;
  • any pricing system must balance fairly contractors’ duty to supply with a reasonable purchase risk;
  • PSNC must be able to provide data about price rises, but accepts that DHSC will want to verify this and that this leads to some period of uncertainty over pricing;
  • any data used to set prices must relate to the period for which a concession is given; and
  • PSNC must be able to challenge proposed price concessions.

The government has been consulting on proposals to introduce legal requirements for business to provide information about healthcare products. The resulting legislation is likely to have an impact on managing price concessions, but it is thought that “a refined system can be established which makes use of the increased data capture.”

Link:
PSNC statement           

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