The Department of Health and Social Care has said the data it collects on medicines prices has improved since new regulations came into force earlier this year.
For generic medicines, the number of manufacturers that provide quarterly information has increased threefold (from 18 to 53) and the number of wholesalers has increased nine-fold (from seven to 65).
The number of generic medicines included in the quarterly collection has more than doubled, rising from 1,046 before the regulations came into force to 2,732 at the time of the DHSC's latest review. Market coverage of manufacturer’s quarterly information has increased from about 70 per cent of dispensed volume under the previous voluntary arrangements to about 90 per cent under the new Regulations.
Meanwhile, market coverage of wholesaler’s quarterly information has increased from under 60 per cent to nearly 80 per cent.
For special medicinal products the number of manufacturers that provide information has increased nearly fourfold (from 7 to 26) and wholesalers are now also providing information about these products (from zero to 26)
The DHSC said it expects that the number of companies providing pricing information will further increase over the next year.
The department also said it was considering basing more reimbursement prices upon actual sales and purchase data and is developing proposals for this. A consultation on reimbursement reforms was announced on July 23. Currently, only those drugs classed in Category M are reimbursed on a calculation using the average selling price.
The DHSC said there are several benefits to community pharmacy if reimbursement prices better reflect market prices, including: improved distribution of margin so that all pharmacies benefit equally; and improvement of cash flow because fewer adjustments are required to ensure delivery of the £800 million margin.
Details are set out in the annual review of The Health Service Products (Provision and Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2018.