Last month, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) announced it is in "urgent discussions" with the Department of Health (DH) about the "catastrophic" effect of generics shortages on contractors' cash flow.
Speaking to C+D following PSNC’s announcement, Dipak Pau, owner and superintendent pharmacist of The Pill Box pharmacy in Chelmsford, said not only are the shortages having an “impact on the smooth running of my business”, but he could stand to lose thousands of pounds a month if the issues continue.
“Items I was buying for 15p are now in excess of £4,” Mr Pau told C+D last month (September 22).
“If I’m selling 1,000 packs a month in one single line in my pharmacy, I will lose £1,500 to £2,500.”
However, the real cost to the business will be higher, as “it’s not just one product” that is affected, Mr Pau explained.
“It’s 80 to 90 products, in different strengths and formulations,” he added.
Mr Pau claimed the cost of buying antipsychotic medication olanzapine from wholesalers increased “170 times” in just three weeks, following a shortage in the market.
The price of antipsychotic quetiapine is also increasing an “extraordinary amount”, he added.
Independents most impacted
Mr Pau warned that if the DH fails to act on the current supply issues, independent pharmacies could “slowly go bust”.
“[Independents] struggling to buy stock in, and buying stock at multiple times the value of what they are getting back from the DH, are losing money hand-over-fist,” he stressed.
“You can only sustain losses for so long.”
C+D has asked PSNC for an update on its “urgent talks” with the DH.