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Pharmacy minister committed to reforming category M pricing

PSNC welcomed Steve Brine's commitment to reimbursement reforms
PSNC welcomed Steve Brine's commitment to reimbursement reforms

The government is committed to pursuing a number of reimbursement reforms in community pharmacy, including changes to category M, Steve Brine has said.

In its long-term plan, published last week (January 7), NHS England said it aims to “explore further efficiencies” in community pharmacy, by reforming the sector's “reimbursement and wider supply arrangements”.

Pharmacy minister Mr Brine has since revealed that the reimbursement reforms include “changes to category M for certain generic medicines to better reflect their market price”, and “changes to the way category A prices are set”.

Responding to a written question from Labour MP for Darlington Jenny Chapman last week (January 10), Mr Brine referred to “a number of reimbursement reforms”, which were originally outlined in the 2016-17 pharmacy funding contract for England (see below).

Mr Brine also said the DH has “recently committed to reforming reimbursement for specials”.

The government is “taking steps to improve the prescription ordering journey to maximise patient choice and convenience”, he said

The DH continues to engage with Theresa May’s cabinet on the role of community pharmacy and “the important contribution of pharmacy teams as outlined in the NHS long-term plan”, Mr Brine added.

PSNC welcomes commitment to reforms

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) director of pharmacy funding Mike Dent said his organisation “welcomes the minister’s confirmation that the government remains committed to these reimbursement reforms, some of which we agreed to review as part of a previous funding settlement”.

“We are keen to begin funding negotiations for 2019-20 as soon as possible,” he added.

Pharmacies in England will not receive any funding increase for 2018-19. Mr Brine also said last week that the DH “will be seeking to renegotiate the community pharmacy contractual framework” and is “committed to working closely with PSNC to better utilise the reach and skill set of pharmacy teams”.

Last week, sector bodies, including the Company Chemists’ Association and the National Pharmacy Association, said community pharmacy needs to be fairly remunerated in order to meet the priorities of the long-term plan.

DH's planned reimbursement reforms for pharmacy

Mr Brine said the government is committed to pursuing the following reforms to community pharmacy reimbursement:

  • ‘non-part VIII’ products, eg products with no reimbursement price listed in part VIII of the drug tariff
  • changes to category M for certain generic medicines to better reflect their market price
  • changes to the margin survey to account for multiple suppliers for non-part VIII products and category C products
  • ‘splitting the discount’ – to reflect that in general generic medicines have increased margin over brands
  • changes to the way category A prices are set.

Source: Department of Health and Social Care, Community Pharmacy in 2016-17 and beyond, October 2016

See more on the proposed reimbursement reforms in the PSNC funding webinar from 2016.

What do you make of Brine's explanation?

Independent Dave, Community pharmacist

Many if not all Independents will be forced to close down, along with half the high street. The result will be nothing but the big vertically integrated chains offering poor service and poor conditions for there staff. It’s the pharmacy equivalent of trump backing his colleagues in the oil industry and denying global warming exists. The government has torn up pharmacy from inside out. Unfortunately by the time the public realises, sadly it’ll be too late, and this government and there counterparts will forever be remembered for being the culprits.. sad sad times.....Wake Up!!

Lucky Ex-Boots Slave, Primary care pharmacist

Community sector is simply hopeless. Get out while you still can! My condolences will be on those locums without much clinical skills and knowledge apart from being a checking machine as the locum market will crash soon! 

Lucky Ex-Boots Slave, Primary care pharmacist

'explore further effeciencies' = 'more funding cuts'

End of story.

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser


"What do you make of Brine's explanation?" Easy, he wants to cut pharmacy renumeration, aided and abetted by the ridiculous hub and spoke ideas that Ridge has come up with, to kill off the independents.


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