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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”.

PSNC revealed last week that it requested 67 price concessions in total – 14 more than have been granted (see table below).

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”.

Further November concessionary prices
Drug
Strength
Form
Price
Amlodipine
10mg
tablets (28)
£2.06
Aripiprazole
10mg
tablets (28)
£1.42
Aripiprazole
15mg
tablets (28)
£2.25
Aripiprazole
5mg
tablets (28)
£8.00
Betahistine
16mg
tablets (84)
£6.16
Betahistine
8mg
tablets (84)
£3.06
Bicalutamide
150mg
tablets (28)
£4.99
Bicalutamide
50mg
tablets (28)
£21.12
Chlorpromazine
100mg
tablets (28)
£28.00
Chlorpromazine
25mg
tablets (28)
£16.07
Chlorpromazine
50mg
tablets (28)
£28.00
Citalopram
20mg
tablets (28)
£2.07
Citalopram
40mg
tablets (28)
£3.74
Diamorphine
30mg
powder for solution for injection ampoules (5)
£16.52
Exemestane
25mg
tablets (30)
£46.99
Fexofenadine
120mg
tablets (30)
£2.72
Fexofenadine
180mg
tablets (30)
£2.89
Gabapentin
100mg
capsules (100)
£3.93
Gabapentin
300mg
capsules (100)
£7.74
Gabapentin
400mg
capsules (100)
£7.99
Glimepiride
1mg
tablets (30)
£1.96
Glimepiride
2mg
tablets (30)
£2.62
Glimepiride
3mg
tablets (30)
£3.92
Glimepiride
4mg
tablets (30)
£5.43
Haloperidol
5mg
tablets (28)
£3.45
Lacidipine
2mg
tablets (28)
£1.75
Lacidipine
4mg
tablets (28)
£3.45
Levetiracetam
100mg/ml
sugar-free solution (300)
£30.00
Levetiracetam
1g
tablets (60)
£60.33
Levetiracetam
250mg
tablets (60)
£20.72
Levetiracetam
500mg
tablets (60)
£33.41
Levetiracetam
750mg
tablets (60)
£63.72
Losartan
100mg
tablets (28)
£1.29
Mebeverine
135mg
tablets (100)
£6.95
Olanzapine
10mg
tablets (28)
£26.78
Olanzapine
20mg
tablets (28)
£52.02
Olanzapine
5mg
tablets (28)
£9.63
Olanzapine
7.5mg
tablets (28)
£20.47
Perindopril
2mg
tablets (30)
£9.00
Perindopril
4mg
tablets (30)
£9.00
Perindopril
8mg
tablets (30)
£8.10
Pregabalin
225mg
capsules (56)
£3.37
Pregabalin
25mg
capsules (56)
£6.03
Pregabalin
300mg
capsules (56)
£9.37
Quetiapine
300mg
tablets (60)
£53.63
Rasagiline
1mg
tablets (28)
£7.80
Rizatriptan
10mg
tablets (3)
£13.37
Topiramate
25mg
tablets (60)
£8.00
Topiramate
50mg
tablets (60)
£14.00
Venlafaxine
37.5mg
tablets (56)
£1.99
Venlafaxine
75mg
tablets (56)
£6.10
Vitamin B Co
strong
tablets (28)
£4.69
Zolmitriptan
2.5mg
tablets (6)
£12.82

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