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PSNC challenges price concessions imposed by DHSC


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The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has challenged price concessions imposed by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on some of the medicines.

It has raised concerns on the process for setting price concessions to senior government officials responsible for medicines supply, warning that the system is not working in the current environment from a community pharmacy contractor perspective.

“When a new government takes over next week, this will be one of several urgent topics being raised by PSNC to new ministers, alongside the fuel price crisis, inflationary pressures and winter pressures on pharmacy businesses,” said PSNC.

The final update to August price concessions was announced yesterday taking the total concessions granted to a record 138 for August. PSNC said: “Of those, 99 were in line with PSNC requests, but prices for 39 lines were imposed by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC): those impositions do not match the purchase prices reported by contractors and the evidence of market prices which we passed on to DHSC. In particular, the final imposed prices of Apriprazole and Temazepam tablets has 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 committee is challenging these concessions and seeking further clarity from DHSC about what evidence they have based their prices on.

“We understand DHSC objectives and that setting inflated concessionary prices would encourage gaming in the market at the taxpayers’ expense: this must be avoided.”

“But we are clear that contractors cannot subsidise the NHS medicines bill and that it is untenable for there to be such a difference between concession and market prices for particular medicines. The concessions system is no longer coping with the current price volatility in the market.

The committee is demanding that the system is- more responsive to changes in the market; agreed more quickly to provide contractors with certainty of reimbursement; and uses high-quality data that reflects the reality presented by contractors on the ground.

PSNC chief executive 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. All PSNC Committee Members are extremely frustrated by this.

“The current system is simply not coping with the realities of a global medicines market suffering shock after shock as it operates within a growing economic crisis, but we need urgently to find ways to ensure that pharmacies are not dispensing at a loss.

“Pharmacies offer a critical health service and they must be funded fairly for the time and effort that goes into the vital job they do of making sure patients can access medicines in a timely manner. We need to see improvements in the concessions system, and to be assured about the quality of data being used by DHSC which doesn’t appear to match the reality for contractors on the ground.”


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