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Numark urges DH to take ‘immediate action’ on 60 concessionary prices

Numark has urged the government to take “immediate action” to tackle desperately needed concessionary prices for 60 generic items.

The buying group reported that there are also “almost 200 products having to be purchased at above tariff reimbursement prices”.

Managing director John D’Arcy told C+D this week (December 4) Numark members are now facing “serious cashflow issues”.

“In a month where dispensing volumes are at their highest, as is workload for pharmacists, how can a contractor run their business at a loss and total uncertainty as to whether they will even get paid the right price for a service they provide on behalf of the NHS?” Mr D’Arcy asked.

“We are urging the Department of Health (DH) to take immediate action to redress this, and at the very least agree to all the outstanding pricing adjustments,” he added.

He stressed that the “discrepancy situation” will “continue to worsen”, and the DH needs to “face this reality more responsibly for the sake of community pharmacy”.

“Complete and utter disgrace”

A contractor – who wished to remain anonymous – called the situation a "complete and utter disgrace" and said they are worried that banks will "pull the plug" on pharmacies because the "profit isn’t there".

"The government are playing hard ball over price concessions," they told C+D this week. "They’re not prepared to cave in, because we’re saying we’re paying too much for [generics]."

The contractor listed four drugs they are still waiting for concessionary prices from November: topiramate, perindopril, losartan and glimepiride.

“Many contractors are facing a hell of a time and we’re basically kept going by the goodwill of our bank,” they added.

A “crazy situation”

Another contractor – who wished to remain anonymous – called the concessionary price delays a "crazy situation", when speaking to C+D last week (December 1).

Pharmacists buy products from wholesalers "in good faith", that they will "be reimbursed somewhere near the price that we’ve paid for it", they pointed out.

However, "that doesn’t always happen" as drug prices are "astronomically high".

"Quetiapine is about £1.70 on the drug tariff, but has actually gone up to almost £100," they explained. "You can lose £10, £20, or £30 on dispensing one prescription."

"The whole thing is a ridiculously difficult situation for pharmacies to be able to plan any future staffing, investment or to make any financial decisions whatsoever," they added.

Which items are you waiting to receive concessionary prices for?

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