The DH announced its Community pharmacy contractual framework funding 2011/2012 in a letter to PCT chief executives dated 8 September 2011. The DH announced a reduction in prices for generic medicines (Category M) which are estimated to yield £78 million of savings from October 2011 to March 2012. This is over and above the reduction of £90 million savings already made from April 2011.

As well as these savings, the DH has also promised a long-awaited “specials” tariff from November 2011. There has, as many will know, been a long standing problem for PCTs where wholesalers have been inflating prices of “unlicensed specials”. These are often simple drugs sold as liquid instead of tablets. Reports have indicated that £70 million a year could be saved by the NHS if the DH set a limit on the price of “specials” as it has done for other drugs.

We have contacted the DH to find out more about the “specials” tariff and when it will be available. We were told that this would be introduced in the November 2011 edition of the drug tariff but no further information will be released as it may be subject to last minute changes. The DH is, however, publishing a list of products without prices which will be available on the NHS Business Services Authority website shortly.

We will provide a further update once the tariff has been published. Previous chief executive letters can be found here and here.