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PSNC 'disappointed again' with final 11 April concessionary prices

BGMA: Our members provide data on their prices to the DH
BGMA: Our members provide data on their prices to the DH

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has said it is “disappointed once again” by the final 11 concessionary prices announced for April.

An initial 13 items received concessionary prices on April 20, followed by a further 15 items in a separate announcement five days later. Eight more concessionary prices were agreed last week (April 27).

Commenting on the latest prices, PSNC director of pharmacy funding Mike Dent said: “Medicines supply and pricing issues continue to put enormous and unreasonable pressure on community pharmacy contractors.

“We are disappointed that once again this month the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) has imposed prices on a number of lines at lower levels than PSNC had sought.”

In January, PSNC said it had “discussed proposals from the DH to change the system for setting price concessions” at a committee meeting.

The negotiator agreed “key principles” for a “fair” system of price concessions, including that “any data used to set prices must relate to the period for which a concession is given”, and “PSNC must be able to challenge proposed price concessions”, it said at the time.

In a statement yesterday (May 3), Mr Dent said: “While the DH trials the use of manufacturer prices rather than wholesaler prices to inform its decision making, PSNC continues to press the need for a fair system to be implemented.”

BGMA: Our role is “overstated”

The DH told C+D last week (April 25) it has been working with both PSNC and the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA) “to ensure reimbursement prices, including concessionary prices, reflect the market as closely as possible”.

However, BGMA director general Warwick Smith told C+D that the DH has “moved to a slightly more rigorous spreadsheet-based process”. This is based on what manufacturers have sold in the previous two weeks, the volume and revenues generated, and existing stock levels. But he stressed that saying the organisation is working on the new system “probably overstates our involvement”.

“Our role is for members to provide data on their prices to [the DH]. The DH has asked for that data in two or three different ways, and frankly we have just complied with what they wanted,” he said last week (April 25).

“Whatever data the DH wants to help them set the most accurate concessionary prices, we will provide,” Mr Smith added. “[The DH] is yet to find something to ask us for that we can't provide.”

“In terms of whether the concessionary price calculation is working, that is really a matter for PSNC,” he stressed.

Read the list of final 11 concessionary prices for April below:

Drug
Strength
Form
Price
Buprenorphine
2mg
sugar-free sublingual tablets (7)
£1.35
Buprenorphine
8mg
sugar-free sublingual tablets (7)
£2.39
Doxazosin
1mg
tablets (28)
£0.94
Glimepiride
2mg
tablets (30)
£2.68
Glimepiride
4mg
tablets (30)
£5.73
Pioglitazone
15mg
tablets (28)
£8.82
Pioglitazone
45mg
tablets (28)
£14.15
Tadalafil
5mg
tablets (28)
£14.00
Tolterodine
1mg
tablets (56)
£3.50
Tolterodine
2mg
tablets (56)
£3.47
Topiramate
25mg
tablets (60)
£7.41
6 Comments
Question: 
Do these prices reflect the ones you have paid in April so far?

PARESH shah, Community pharmacist

Sorry. I meant 'for using this'

PARESH shah, Community pharmacist

Time for one of our many national bodies to go to the national press with this issue.

get some pharmacists showing real examples of price paid and price re-imbursed on the price concession list.

The DoH can then be taken to task for not using this as a back door way shutting pharmacies.

Brian AUSTEN, Administration & Support

First time PSNC has failed to gain agreement about something from Department of Health and Social Care

A Hussain, Senior Management

It's just unreal to think that the price manufacturers are selling to wholesalers for is being used to  'fairly' reimburse pharmacies.  If that had any bearing on the price pharmacies are forced to pay then surely the bigger wholesalers would be cheaper than the short-liners as they will obviously pay less to the manufacturers.

Mike Hewitson, Superintendent Pharmacist

At the risk of sounding like a broken record. Manufacturers are saying “it’s not us”, pharmacies are saying the same. Urgent intervention is required to make sure that the wholesale market is operating fairly. 

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

If it's not pharmacies and it's not manufacturers, who on earth could it be? Maybe the NPA could enlighten us...

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