For practices that can cast their minds back to the beginning of this month, one word might answer the question: why does a dispensing practice need a dispensary buying manager? And that word is pregabalin.
In mid-July, practices were alerted to pregabalin’s entry into category M from August, and the prospect of plummeting drug tariff reimbursement prices for the drug from an average of £76 to just under £3. Dispensaries then had just two weeks to manage stocks so that branded stock was not left on shelf to be dispensed against generic prescriptions at a massive loss.
Once August’s new generic pregabalin era got underway, dispensers then had to search around to find supplies at a price below the new category M reimbursement price. Pharmacy representatives say that hundreds of contractors have been in touch complaining about being forced into loss-making purchasing – and as a result, by mid-August the Department of Health conceded that reimbursement prices of just under £20 would be paid. Wholesalers blame the reason for the pricing problems as “market shocks” flowing from such a large price drop for such a big volume product.
Daily fare for a buying manager
Earlier this year, newly-elected BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul was told by DDA 2017 conference speaker Dr David Bailey that “it is essential that the reimbursement regulations for dispensing doctors are made fit for purpose once again”. Dr David Bailey, who is speaking on day one of the DDA 2017 conference, has told the new BMA chief that “the current situation where some medicines can be dispensed at a loss cannot continue”. He said: We need to restore a level playing field for dispensing GPs and their patients.”
Delegates able to visit the DDA’s 2017 annual conference on day two of the event will hear dispensing practice purchasing manager Rachael Balcombe describe the art of navigating the choppy market waters of dispensing practice reimbursement as bread and butter fare for a dispensary buying manager.
In the average dispensing practice, the buyer manages buying and stock holding on a daily basis so that avoidable losses are minimised or eliminated completely, and that buying is as profitable as possible. The buying manager also spends their days negotiating the best deals and arrangements from suppliers such as wholesalers and shortliners, and manages the myriad of manufacturer discount schemes available to dispensing practices.
The post-holder also delivers a pivotal coordinating role to ensure that prescribing and dispensing works in tandem to ensure that patients get the best treatment, at the best possible cost for the NHS and the practice – and all with minimal input from a GP.
If you think a buying manager could add value to your dispensary, book your free place at the DDA 2017 conference now. Conference places are being advertised now, and already registrations are more than double the number at this time last year. So, don’t delay:
Register for your free conference delegate place today
Make it a date
Dr David Bailey: Wednesday 18 October 3-3.45pm. Topic: Report from the coalface of medico-politics
Rachel Balcombe: Thursday 19 October. 10.55-11.30am. Topic: So, who needs a buying manager?