Jay Badenhorst – who is also managing director of the 35-branch Whitworth Chemists – told C+D on Monday (November 13) he had identified 221 items where the drug tariff price did not match the price being charged by wholesalers.
“The average drug tariff price for the 221 items we identified is £9.89,” he said. “The average price we are paying is £21.31.”
“It is a joke,” he concluded.
“If you’re not 100% on top of all your prices – checking it on a daily or hourly basis – then basically you’ll get charged without even knowing it,” he warned.
Mr Badenhorst said Whitworth Chemists is in the “very fortunate position” of being able to employ a buyer to monitor changes in drug prices. But he is “aware of contractors who come to the LPC because cashflow is completely gone”.
“They are really feeling the pinch,” added Mr Badenhorst, who warned that the 15p-per-item increase in advance payments negotiated by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee for November alone “won’t go very far at all”.
“While I welcome it to try and eliminate some of the peaks and troughs of cashflow, it just doesn’t even touch [the problem].”
The 221 items identified by Mr Badenhorst on Monday – and seen by C+D – include all 38 of the items granted concessionary prices by the Department of Health the following day.
Other items on the list included packs of 60 300mg quetiapine tablets – where the wholesaler price was more than £130 above the drug tariff price – and packs of 60 1g levetiracetam tablets – where the price differed by more than £80.