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DH seeks GPs’ views on ‘big brother’ information rules

Let the DH know if its proposals are reasonable

October 25th 2017

Tagged: DM Zone news DDA news Conference news England

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Dispensing GPs in England are encouraged to have their say on information regulations that will require them to supply  purchase invoice information on request to the Department of Health.

A consultation is open until November 14. Speaking to the DDA 2017 annual conference, Department of Health principal pharmacist Susan Grieve explained that the provisions for dispensing GPs in England cover health service medicine, medical supplies and other related products purchased by practices for supply to patients, and that obligations under the regulations can be fulfilled through existing processes, for example, wholesaler invoices.

The consultation invites dispensing GPs to raise concerns about the proposals, including the need to keep suitable records for six years, and to give alternative suggestions.

In her presentation to DDA annual conference delegates, Ms Grieve explained that the information regulations, the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Act, aims to give the Department of Health stronger powers to limit drugs’ prices. She said: “Competition generally works well to keep prices down, but not where there is no competition. “ She told the conference, that currently, the Competition and Market Authority has three ongoing excessive pricing cases.

Recently, there has also been an explosion in the number of concession reimbursement prices granted to dispensing GPs: these have increased from an average of 15-20 concessionary prices per month in June to 66 in November. She reiterated DDA advice that prescribers can change the prescription order to state the brand of generic used, to ensure fair reimbursement for products not covered by concession prices.

But, she said: “We cannot predict when the market will stabilise and when the number of concessionary prices will decline.”

Her presentation also looked at the 2016 community pharmacy contract agreement, announced during the 2016 DDA annual conference, and the changes designed to produce a consolidation in the number of pharmacies.

She revealed to the conference that pharmacy funding discussions were focused on splitting clawback rates for brands and generics. She explained that this would “reflect the fact that generic medicines have increased margin over brands”. The details, including the impact on dispensing GP reimbursement, are still being worked out, she said.

View the conference presentation.

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