Contractors ‘sickened’ by final 53 November concessionary prices
Contractors were unimpressed by the final 53 concessionary prices for November, announced by the Department of Health (DH) and National Assembly for Wales yesterday.
While Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Sue Sharpe said her organisation “is pleased that further November prices have finally been issued”, she stressed that “many are lower than we had sought, and some concessions we applied for have not been granted”.
C+D reported earlier this month that contractors in England were “highly stressed” waiting for concessionary prices for items including levetiracetam, amlodipine and felodipine – the latter of which did not make the list.
Responding to the latest concessionary prices, the superintendent pharmacist of Broadway Pharmacy in Preston, Michael Ball, tweeted: “I honestly feel like giving up. It’s just one blow after another, beyond sickening.
“I feel like I need to determine how substantial the loss is, but then I’ll just be even more depressed and not spending the time productively," he continued. "[I'm] honestly flabbergasted. Scary times.”
Excluding felodipine was “a joke”
Contractor Nat Mitchell from Cockermouth, Cumbria said it was “a joke” that felodipine was not among the 53 items, and that bicalutamide’s concessionary price was as low as £4.99 for 28 150mg tablets. “I feel like I’m being defrauded,” he added.
Fellow Cumbria pharmacist Ben Merriman said one wholesaler had priced bicalutamide at £39.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne pharmacy manager Rani Rehan said “thankfully” her pharmacy does not have patients on felodipine or bicalutamide, but described her reaction to the £53.63 concessionary price for 60 tablets of quetiapine 300mg as: “Ouch.”
Contractor Tony Schofield – also based in Newcastle – said “all the major wholesalers” are offering quetiapine at £136, and “the best [price] we could get” occasionally is £73.
Supplying at a loss?
Contractor Suketu Patel from Cheshire said he will “have to seriously consider” whether to supply medicines not granted a concessionary price at “below actual purchasing price”, or not at all.
Reacting to the news, Wyvern Pharmacy contractor Andrew Grierson tweeted: “Show of hands how many small contractors didn't submit items for fear of losing out on a crippling amount of money, and now have to wait with fingers crossed for December.”
PSNC’s Ms Sharpe said she hopes the DH will respond to requests for December price concessions – submitted earlier this month – in a “more timely manner”.