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: