February 15, 2019
The LPC is aware that community pharmacies continue to experience issues with medicines shortages. We have received a number of queries from GP practices regarding these shortages and would encourage you to communicate with the practice directly, where possible, regarding medicines shortages and, in particular, GP practices would welcome community pharmacies identifying an alternative where appropriate. Please do not refer the patient back to the GP practice without a recommendation for an alternative if a suitable alternative is available and appropriate.
PSNC has published a range of resources that are now available to support community pharmacy teams in discussing medicines shortages with patients, prescribers and others.
- Patient Leaflet: Information to give patients affected by medicines shortages.
- Drug Shortages Briefing for Prescribers: Information about medicines supply issues to give GPs, CCGs and other NHS prescribers.
- Price Concessions Factsheet: This briefing explains how the price concessions system works and so may help to explain the pricing issues.
Independent pharmacy contractors are strongly reminded to report any generic pricing issues and generic product shortages on a regular basis via the PSNC website. Please do not think that because one pharmacy has reported the problem that this will be enough. Please set up a system within your pharmacy team where you can report this information to PSNC on a regular basis. It does not need to be the pharmacist, the pharmacy owner or manager that submits this information. Consider how you can use members of your team, where available, to submit this information to PSNC on a regular basis. The more reports fed into PSNC by different pharmacy contractors helps to highlight the extent of the problem.
If you have problems obtaining a Part VIII product or problems obtaining the product at the stated Drug Tariff price, please report the issue to PSNC using the online feedback form on the PSNC Website.
Please include full details of the supplier and price paid for any products sourced above the Drug Tariff price. PSNC will investigate the extent of the problem and if appropriate discuss the issue with DHSC.
PSNC cannot provide details of generic products that are suspected of being affected by generic supply problems unless and until the Department of Health and Social Care grants a concession. The price concession only applies to the month that it is granted.
Price concessions and NCSOs only apply for the month in which they are granted. Because the market fluctuates on a regular basis in terms of stock levels and prices it would not be appropriate to roll the price over from one month to the next.
PSNC regularly monitors the market through contractor reports and communications with wholesalers. Where appropriate, PSNC apply to the Department of Health and Social Care for price concessions on products which aren’t available at Drug Tariff price. As stock levels and prices can vary across the country, PSNC relies on contractor reports to help feed into their market surveillance and discussions with the Department of Health and Social Care. It is also important to note that the Department may not act on something unless contractors have reported it.
The LPC has made available two documents regarding the continuing NHS medicines supply issues for community pharmacies to share with patients and local GP practices.
Further information is available here.