Surge in price concessions raises concerns over generic drug supply issues

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Drug supply issues are driving up generic drug prices, says the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) The Pharmaceutical Journal.

He attributed the supply problems to staff absences linked to COVID-19, post-Brexit trading changes and rising oil prices.

“We are concerned that supply issues are increasing,” said Mike Dent, director of pharmacy funding at PSNC.

“Entrepreneurs are reporting problems getting more and more drugs, with a number of complex factors at play in the supply chain once again.”

Dent added that the PSNC was raising these concerns with the Department of Health and Social Care and would continue to advise them where it believed price concessions or severe shortage protocols might be needed.

“We know pharmacy teams are working hard to do everything they can for their patients, and that’s only adding to the growing workload they’re facing,” Dent said.

The number of price concessions for generic drugs granted by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), more than doubled in the first month of 2022, compared to 2021.

In the final price concession update, released on February 2 for January 2022, more than 100 drugs were listed compared to 40 issued in January 2021.

Price concessions are identified after the PSNC monitors monthly price lists and price change notifications from primary wholesalers, while simultaneously collecting information through contractor reports. This information is then used to submit requests for price concessions, which are intended to help cover costs when pharmacies are unable to source a medicine at the medicine’s list price, as needed.

On February 4, 2022, the PSNC detailed adjusted prices for certain medicines for which price concession requests were later withdrawn following confirmation from DHSC that, due to the price change mechanism – which was introduced to ensure that community pharmacy teams are correctly reimbursed for the medicines they dispense — the reimbursement prices had been increased for these products in January 2022.

Products that had been price adjusted include Metformin Sugar Free Oral Solution 1000mg/5ml, which was listed as having a medicine tariff price of £24 but was later corrected to the reimbursement price of £80 .

Read more: Government tests new method of setting price concessions

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