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PSNC concerned over impact of medicines supply issues on community pharmacy

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The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has expressed its concerns over sustained pressures on medicines supply that are having a very serious impact on community pharmacy teams and their patients.

It has asked contractors and their teams to continue using its regular reporting tools to help them demonstrate the scale of the problems to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and to support escalations as needed.

The committee said: “The sustained increases in price concessions that we have seen so far in 2022 – with more than 100 concessions being granted in some months – show no signs of abating, and we know that many pharmacies now find themselves in a critical situation trying to source medicines in timely manner and facing significant financial risk due to greater uncertainty around expected reimbursement prices for a large number of medicines.”

“We know that some concessions being imposed by the Department do not match contractors’ experience on the ground, and we would ask all contractors to continue reporting pricing issues to us on a regular basis to support our representations: Report product over Drug Tariff price.”

PSNC has already escalated the situation and its concerns with the Department and are seeking both an improved price concession process to streamline processes and give contractors better information, as well as recognition of the impact this is now having on pharmacy teams.

Its Pharmacy Pressures Survey has confirmed the consequences of the issues pharmacy teams are now facing, finding that 83 per cent of pharmacies had seen a significant increase in medicine supply issues in the past year, leading to extra work and additional stress for staff.

Two-thirds of respondents of the survey said that medicines supply chain issues are now a daily occurrence, with 97 per cent reporting that this led to frustration from patients.

“The situation is distressing, adding both operational and financial pressures on pharmacy teams.”

Gordon Hockey, PSNC Director Legal, said: “The current volatility and pricing issues in the medicines supply chain are extremely concerning to PSNC: we know that they are having a very negative impact across the sector, often on a daily basis. It is also particularly concerning to hear from pharmacy teams who report that some patients are showing aggression to pharmacy teams as a consequence of these sustained issues.

Pharmacies are doing everything that they can to manage supplies and patient expectations, but it is not acceptable that they are being put in this situation, on top of all the other critical issues and pressures that they are facing at the moment. We are continuing to seek Price Concessions from DHSC on a monthly basis, alongside escalating this within the Department.”

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