The Government has changed its approach to the current ‘unsatisfactory’ price concession system, according to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has now reviewed its price concession approach, ‘which will be based on gathering timely data from manufacturers’, the negotiator said yesterday (26 February).

The DHSC told The Pharmacist: 'DHSC continue to work closely with the PSNC and the British Generic Manufacturers to ensure concessionary prices reflect the market as closely as possible.

'We don’t wish to add anything further.'

‘Better evidential basis’

PSNC director of pharmacy funding Mike Dent said that ‘using current data from manufacturers as well as wholesalers may provide a better evidential basis’, for requesting price concessions.

He continued: ‘But we need to see if it can be used as part of a system that does deliver reimbursement of what pharmacies are having to pay.

‘The existing system, in which the DHSC asks wholesalers about current prices, is unsatisfactory, and this has particularly been the case in the recent volatile market conditions.

‘It is important that concessions ensure that pharmacy owners are reimbursed for the medicines they supply for the NHS.’

Ongoing discussions

PSNC has been holding ongoing discussions with the DHSC on whether the system for setting price concessions should be changed, it said.

The negotiator said it is seeking a system that is more responsive to price rises and ensures that community pharmacy contractors do not carry unreasonable costs on behalf of the NHS.

PSNC recently told The Pharmacist that it had received ‘a few thousand reports’ of generic stock shortages per month since the summer.

It requested 38 concessions for February, it said.

‘Significant financial risk’

‘We have seen an increase in supply issues with generic medicines since June 2017. Higher prices on these lines mean Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are facing a significant financial risk.

‘This has been going on for many months. When we request price concessions, the DHSC always makes its own inquiries following reports from us to validate the availability and prices around the country’, Mr Dent added.