It is currently preparing a formal consultation with “relevant industry bodies” before finally implementing the price-setting powers.
“Our priority is to ensure that all patients continue to get their medicine, and that community pharmacies are reimbursed fairly for the products they dispense,” the DH told C+D when discussing these powers on Tuesday (March 12).
"Isolated cases" of price hiking
There are “isolated cases” of generics price hiking, which “appears to be where there is no competition, or competition isn’t working well and some suppliers have increased their prices to what appear to be unwarranted levels”, government spokesperson Baroness Manzoor said last month.
“We do not control prices of generic medicines, but rely on competition to drive prices down,” she added. “This normally works well and has led to some of the lowest prices in Europe.”
Price concessions do not mean shortages
Price fluctuations across Europe can lead to concessionary prices, the DH explained. However, price concessions do not necessarily mean those products are in short supply, it stressed.
In June 2018, a National Audit Office report into the “unexpected increase” in generics prices in 2017 referred to government evidence of “unexpected increases in wholesalers’ margins”, which the DH could not fully explain.