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Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

Consumables and Container Allowance

capletsPart IV of the Drug Tariff outlines payment arrangements for consumables and containers.

Please note this section has recently changed, following Drug Tariff changes effective from 1st July 2012.

Pharmacy contractors are required to supply drugs in suitable containers. Capsules, tablets, pills, pulvules etc shall be supplied in airtight containers of glass, aluminium or rigid plastics; card containers may be used only for foil/strip packed tablets etc. For ointments, creams, pastes, card containers shall not be used. Eye, ear and nasal drops shall be supplied in dropper bottles, or with a separate dropper where appropriate.


Consumables (formerly known as container allowance)

Payment for consumables used when dispensing is paid at 1.24p per prescription item.

This payment includes:

  • Provision for supply of either a 5ml plastic measuring spoon (which shall comply with BS 3221:Part 6:1987), or a 1ml, 5ml or 10ml plastic oral syringe measure with every oral liquid medicine, except where the manufacturer's pack includes one. Plastic oral syringe measures must be clearly labelled 'oral' and/or 'enteral' in a large font size, comply with appropriate British or European Standards (BS 3221:Part 7:1995 or an equivalent European Standard for the 5ml syringe) and be wrapped together with a bottle adaptor and instructions. Choice of whether a spoon or syringe (and its size) is supplied will depend on the nature of the medication regime.
  • In very exceptional circumstances, or where specifically requested by the prescriber, dilution may still take place. The prescription should be endorsed accordingly.
  • Provision for supply of a dropper bottle or separate dropper with every prescription for a medicine which is for administration to or via the ear, eye or nose, or a vaginal applicator with every prescription for contraceptive gel or cream, except where the manufacturer's pack includes one.


Payment for containers is at the rate of 10p for every prescription item (except special containers) supplied where a split pack quantity is dispensed to account for additional containers used.

A "split pack" quantity is where the quantity prescribed on a prescription is not equal to or a multiple of the pack sizes listed in Part VIIIA of the Drug Tariff.

For non-Drug Tariff listed lines "split pack" quantity is determined by the contractor’s endorsement. Where the proprietary product is prescribed, contractors will be paid the NHS list price from the PPRS or statutory PPRS for the pack size endorsed. Where the prescription is written generically, the contractor will need to endorse in the usual way with the pack size and the brand name or the name of the manufacturer or wholesaler from whom the supply was purchased.


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