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Manufacturers body: The FMD will cause generics prices to rise

Warwick Smith: I suspect the FMD is having an impact already
Warwick Smith: I suspect the FMD is having an impact already

The cost of implementing the EU’s medicines scanning law across the supply chain will cause medicines prices to increase, the BGMA has said.

The EU’s anti-counterfeit legislation, the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) – which requires all pharmacies to be able to scan barcodes on medicines packaging at the point of dispensing – came into force last month.

BGMA director Warwick Smith warned that financial pressures of the FMD are being felt across the supply chain, and this will be reflected in the price of medicines.

“The cost is already in the market, even if the packs are not,” he told C+D at the Sigma conference in Muscat, Oman, last month.

The FMD has already cost the pharmaceutical industry “hundreds of billions of pounds” in production costs of adding 2D barcodes, Mr Smith claimed.

On top of this cost, manufacturers paid £9 million to register with SecureMed – the UK group tasked with implementing the FMD, he claimed.

“I suspect [the FMD] is having an impact already, but it will be quite gradual and quite small,” Mr Smith added.

Brexit having “minor” effect on prices

Mr Smith acknowledged that Brexit is having a “small” effect on medicines prices, but “it will get bigger”.

Of the factors affecting generics prices, Brexit is “probably the least impactful”, he said. 

Read Warwick Smith’s blog on what other factors pose a threat to generics prices.

Have you received many medicines with 2D barcodes?

How High?, Community pharmacist

Because of course they haven't already.

Anyone seen a March concessionary price list yet?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Although to play devil's advocate, the FMD process doesn't add that much extra to dispensing time, an extra 30 seconds at most really...but what I suspect is that FMD will be a foundation piece for full automation. 

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

Yeah 30 seconds PER SCRIPT.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Increased prices!! Do we all get to share in these profits or is just for the few as opposed to the many ?

Sam Pharmacist, Community pharmacist


My favourite fast moving items now have FMD barcodes. Damn you Ventolin for implementing so quickly. Will have to check out the brands slow to react. How is everybody coping with adding 2 tablets in 28 boxes. I am using a lot of cello tape to tape up the tamperproof boxes now. The dispensing fee needs to cover the slowing down of dispensing now!


Why are you taping up the box? Once you take tablets out of a full pack you decommission and use the rest as and when

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I suspect he's referring to the fact they don't close properly after you open them like the old flaps used to. It does pose a question of can we adopt full-pack dispensing already like the rest of the EU.

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

"Hundreds of billions of pounds" already spent? Did he say this without putting his pinky to his lips?

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

Putting a barcode on the box cost us SIXTY TRILLION last year.


It's an effin' disgrace - NCSO on EVERYTHING or we walk.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I suspect a minor change to the printing process was highly unlikely to have cost as much as we are being led on to believe.

Thomas Cox, Editorial

Yes this does seem like a lot, which is why we said he "claimed". We'd like to find out the real figure.  

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

well he would say that wouldnt he... the more it has apparently cost to implement the more they can hike prices... strange we have to beg for the money for the extra time it takes us..

David Moore, Locum pharmacist

Spent, or wasted?

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