Government plans to make the supply chain give it more information about prices so it can make community pharmacy reimbursement ‘more robust’ could ‘backfire’, according to the sector’s negotiating body.

The Department of Health (DH) ran a consultation, which closed on 14 November, on proposed legal requirements to provide information about health service products to help it assess if it is getting value for money on medicine prices.

However, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) called for the DH to go back to the drawing board and ‘rethink the applicability and scope of the proposed regulations to community pharmacy.’

It was also worried that the proposals ‘may backfire and affect the benefits the government enjoys from the current arrangements and the competitive market in generic medicines’, it said

The DH said: ‘Information from all manufacturers, wholesalers and importers for both primary and secondary care is required to improve the robustness of the community pharmacy reimbursement arranges, support cost control provisions (in the 2006 National Health Service Act) and be able to ensure the value-of-money of products to the NHS.’

'Little to add'

PSNC also questioned the need for extra information from community pharmacy contractors. It said the Margins Survey for managing pharmacy remuneration are sufficient, especially if manufacturers and wholesalers will be providing quarterly data.

‘There seems little need to add this extra layer of regulation which would increase pharmacy workload,’ said PSNC.

The DH wants people involved in the manufacture, distribution and supply of health care products to keep records, including invoices, about prices, discounts, rebates revenues and profits. Under the proposed new rules they would have to hand over information about volumes and prices of unbranded generic medicines and specials within 24 hours of a request.

Some manufacturers and wholesalers already provide the information on a voluntary basis about some primary care products.

DH added: ‘We currently obtain information about unbranded generic medicines and special medicinal products on a voluntary basis from some manufacturers and wholesalers.

'The provision of this information from all manufacturers, importers and wholesalers would improve the robustness of the community pharmacy reimbursement arrangements.'