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England begins review of Drug Tariff reimbursement

New pharmacy contract deals seeks fairer margin distribution and smoother cash flow, but more NHS efficiencies

July 24th 2019

Tagged: DM Zone news political news Pharmacy owners' news England

By Ailsa Colquhoun

The Department of Health and Social Care has begun its reform of Drug Tariff reimbursement in a new consultation launched yesterday and running until Tuesday 17 September.

The consultation seeks views on a variety of reimbursement matters including the pricing of branded generics, more transparent pricing of category C products with multiple suppliers and for non-part VIIIA drugs.  There are also proposals to introduce two clawback scales, for  generic and branded medicines, and for Specials, for which a Part VIII reimbursement price cannot be determined, to introduce a three quote system for obtaining non-Part VIII specials or central procurement.

View the consultation.

The announcement was made as part of a new, five-year funding deal for community pharmacies in England and aims to deliver smoother cash flow, fairer distribution of medicines margin and better value for money for the NHS. The impact of community pharmacy reimbursement on dispensing practices is recognised in the consultation, and the DDA will be responding to the consultation.

Other key changes in the pharmacy deal, which may affect footfall into dispensing GPs, will be the introduction of a national NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS), from October 2019, which will see NHS 111 refer consultations to community pharmacies for minor illness and urgent medicines supply. This service replaces the existing NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) and will usher in the end of the pharmacy medicines use review service. It also follows local pilots of the Digital Minor Illness Referral Service (DMIRS).

Formal referral to community pharmacies from GP practices (the next planned stage in the development of the wider CPCS) is already being piloted in sites across England and could be introduced nationally from April 2020. Other referral points to community pharmacies may include NHS 111 online, Urgent Treatments Centres, and possibly A&E. The GP Forward View suggests that around 20 million appointments in general practice do not require a GP.

In addition, pharmacies have been promised a transitional payment to recognise pressures in relation to engagement with local PCNs, preparation for Severe Shortage Protocols and introduction of the Falsified Medicines Directive.

Visit PSNC’s website for further information on the pharmacy funding deal for 2019-2024.

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