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Funding crisis threatens dispensing practices

Dispensing practices fear they could go to the wall after a cut in generic drug tariffs added to losses from a reduction in their fee scale.

Dr Baker: 'profitability will fall in dispensing practices'
Dr Baker: 'profitability will fall in dispensing practices'

The DoH will cut Category M drug reimbursements as part of a pay deal with community pharmacists for 2010/11.

Ministers plan to recoup £120m in total through cuts that take effect from October.

The deal will hit dispensing practices hard after a rise in the dispensing fee scale expected in April failed to materialise.

The fee scale was cut by 8.7% midway through the last financial year to bring a 4.9% decrease across the whole year. But rather than bring the fee scale back up this April, the DoH left it at the lower rate.

Dispensing Doctors Association chairman Dr David Baker warned that the dispensing fee was likely to remain low.

Dr Baker added that some of the Category M losses had been offset for small pharmacies by additional investment by the DoH, but this support was not available for dispensers.

‘It doesn’t seem fair, and it’s very bad news,’ he said. ‘Profitability will fall in dispensing practices and could fall to the extent that dispensing practices will no longer be able to dispense.’

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