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Concession price disparities are ‘untenable’ warns PSNC


Concession price disparities are ‘untenable’ warns PSNC

Disagreements between the PSNC and the Government over concession prices are forcing contractors to dispense at a loss more frequently, the negotiator has warned, describing the current system as “untenable”.

In a statement on Friday (September 2), the PSNC said that out of a “record” 138 price concessions granted in August, 39 prices were “imposed” by the Department of Health and Social Care because it refused to match the purchase prices contractors had reported.

“In particular, the final imposed prices of aripiprazole and temazepam tablets have generated a lot of concern amongst contractors due to the large variation between their reimbursement prices and purchase prices during the month of August.”

The PSNC said that while it recognised the Government wished to avoid “setting inflated concessionary prices… contractors cannot subsidise the NHS medicines bill”. 

“It is untenable for there to be such a difference between concession and market prices for particular medicines,” it warned. 

It is urging the Government to overhaul the concessions system to make it more responsive to market changes, with swifter action taken to “provide contractors with certainty of reimbursement”.

PSNC chief Janet Morrison said: “Last month saw more price concessions granted, and more imposed at prices below what PSNC had requested, than we have ever seen before. 

“This is a grim milestone, and one which is causing chaos and very great worry for pharmacies across the country.” 

Ms Morrison said the current system is “simply not coping with the realities of a global medicines market crisis suffering shock after shock,” adding that there must be improvements to the concession system to ensure pharmacies are “funded fairly for the time and effort that goes into the vital job they do”.

In a recent interview with Pharmacy Network News, PSNC reimbursement manager Suraj Shah said the Government should put more pressure on manufacturers ensure medicine prices are kept “at appropriate levels”.

He said the number of prices being imposed by the DHSC was five times higher than at the same point in 2021.

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