The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), under the direction of Ministers, has this week published the April Drug Tariff introducing changes to their approach to concessions pricing.

These changes, which are untested, have been imposed by the Government without our agreement and Community Pharmacy England opposes them in the strongest terms. No recovery or downward pressure on margin is acceptable given the financial fragility of community pharmacies, and we have serious concerns about the ongoing impact on pharmacy businesses and their patients.

While it is unclear exactly how the Department’s changes will work in practice, any further pressure on pharmacies to dispense at a loss will have very serious consequences for the sector, patients and the wider primary care system.

We are continuing to fight these changes – alongside the ongoing negotiations on 2024/25 funding – and we are calling for an urgent review of medicines supply and margin systems to assure safety for patients and economic stability for pharmacies.

Pharmacy owners should continue to report price rises to us in the normal way. They are also encouraged to continue writing to their MPs on this topic using our guidance for writing to your MP and our latest briefings for politicians.

For resources about the usual price concession process and to explain medicines supply issues to prescribers and patients, please see our Medicines Supply and Price Concessions Resources webpage.

Janet Morrison, Community Pharmacy England Chief Executive, said: 

“Community Pharmacy England opposes these untested changes. Any system that is based on an expectation of dispensing at a loss is damaging to community pharmacies and the patients they serve: it is unacceptable. This is yet another example of tinkering at the edges while inadequate pharmacy funding arrangements leave pharmacies struggling to stay open, and puts the the safe supply of medicines at risk.”

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