You are viewing an archive version of the PSNC website taken on 18th April 2013. This site is not updated, and may be out of date or relate to old NHS structures.
For updated and current information, please visit our new website at www.psnc.org.uk
Skip Navigation
PSNC Home Page
Advanced Search
.

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

MotorwayThere have been a number of recent and proposed  distribution changes by leading UK medicine suppliers. Until recently all medicines were distributed through a number of competing wholesalers but in March 2007, Pfizer began supplying prescription medicines solely through one wholesaler, Unichem. A number of other suppliers have made similar changes to their distribution arrangements and it is anticipated that more will follow. On this section of the site, you will be able to find a summary of recent changes and a summary of the OFT Report into this issue.

Click on the link below to download a quick reference guide to key branded manufacturers' distribution arrangements: 

Branded Medicine Manufacturers' Wholesaler Distribution Arrangements - Quick Reference Guide 


Summary of Recent Distribution Changes


ALK-Abello

New Arrangements with effect: 1st April 2010
Products affected: EpiPen and EpiPen Junior
Available From: Alliance Healthcare
Distribution Model: Wholesaling
Support: Any customers who have difficulties obtaining these products can contact their Alliance Healthcare Account Manager or Customer Services team or ALK-Abello customer services on 01488 686 016

Arjun

New Arrangements with effect: 1st November 2010
Products affected: All Arjun products
Available From: AAH and Alliance Healthcare
Distribution Model: Wholesaling
Support: Any customers who have difficulties obtaining these products can contact Arjun on 01932 268286

Astellas (updated)

Products: Prograf, Advagraf, Mycamine and Modigraf only.  (with effect 26th November 2007)
Available from: Alliance Healthcare only.
Discount: No discount available for Prograf and Advagraf, however, both products are listed in the 'Drugs for which discount is not deducted List' (Part II of the Tariff).
Distribution Model: Agency

Products: All other Astellas Products (with effect 1st November 2010): Product List
Available from: AAH, Alliance, Phoenix 
Discount: Set by the wholesalers concerned.
Distribution Model: wholesaling basis.

Support: Should you encounter any problems obtaining Astellas products contact Astellas customer service department on 01784 419615

Astra Zeneca

Start date: 2nd February 2008
Products affected: All Astra Zeneca products
Available from: AAH and Alliance Healthcare
Discount: Different AZ products will attract different levels of discount with the same level of discount applied for a particular product regardless of the volume purchased. In addition, contractors may qualify for a retrospective rebate according to the total value of AZ products purchased in a given month.
Support: AstraZeneca Customer Services can be contacted on 0800 032 0501.

Click here to view the original Astra Zeneca letter to customers 

AZ Product Discount Levels (Last Updated 10th February 2009)

Bausch + Lomb
Start date: 1st April 2009
Products affected: All Bausch and Lomb products
Available From: AAH, Alliance Healthcare, Phoenix, Mawdsleys, Sants
Distribution Model: Wholesaling

Bayer Diabetes Care

Start date: 1st April 2010
Products affected: A product list can be found on the Bayer website. There have been no changes to the distribution of Bayer Consumer Care products.
To be Available from: AAH, Alliance Healthcare  and Phoenix 
Discount: Discount available on these lines will be set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).
Support: Bayer Diabetes Support can be contacted on 0845 6006030.

Bayer Schering

Start date: 1st July 2009
Products affected: A product list can be found on the Bayer website. Not all Bayer products are affected. There have been no changes to the distribution of Bayer Consumer Care products. Four  additional products will soon be added to Bayer's  distribution arrangements. Finacea gel 30g will change on  June 1st 2010.  Scheriproct (ointment and suppositories) and Skinoren cream will change on 1st September 2010. There is also expected to be a future change to the arrangements for Ultrabase Cream but this is still to be confirmed. (Updated)
See above for information on Bayer Diabetes Care products.
Available from: AAH, Alliance Healthcare and Phoenix 
Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).
Support: Bayer Schering can be contacted on 01635 563000

Boehringer Ingelheim Limited

Start date: 1st June 2010
Products affected: All  Boehringer Ingelheim Limited's prescription medicine products
Available from: AAH, Alliance Healthcare and Phoenix
Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).
Support: Boehringer Ingelheim Customer Services can be contacted on 01344 741 101.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals Limited


Start date: 1st August 2009
Products affected: All BMS products
Available from: AAH and Alliance Healthcare will supply most products however there are a number of lines which will only be available from BMS direct.

Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).
Support:
BMS Customer Services can be contacted on 01244 586 250

BMS media statement

BMS letter to contractors and list of products

Eli Lilly 

New Arrangements with effect: 6th July 2009 
Available from: AAH and Phoenix 
Discount: As set out in Lilly's Pharmacy Brochure
Support: Should you encounter any problems obtaining Eli Lilly products contact Eli Lilly Customer Care Line on 0800 0121178

Ferring

New Arrangements with effect: January 2010
Available from: AAH, Alliance Healthcare and Phoenix 
Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).
Support: customer.services@ferring.com

GSK (including former Stiefel products)

Start date: 1st November 2008 and from 1st January 2010, products previously marketed by Stiefel Laboratories (UK) Ltd
Available from: AAH Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Alliance Healthcare Ltd
Discount: Determined by the manufacturer (agency model). For queries contact the GSK Customer Contact Centre on 0800 221441.
Products Affected: All GSK prescription medicines from GSK UK and all products previously marketed by Stiefel.
Support: GSK Customer Contact Centre on 0800 221 441 or your GSK account manager.

Click here to view GSK Letter (2008)  

Janssen-Cilag Ltd

New Arrangements with effect: 1st January 2009.
Products affected: All Janssen - Cilag Products
Available from: AAH, Phoenix and  Alliance Healthcare
Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).
Support: Should you encounter any problems obtaining Janssen- Cilag products, contact Janssen- Cilag customer service department on 0800 333 001

Click here to view Janssen -Cilag letter .

KoRa Healthcare and Newport Pharmaceuticals

Start date: 1st September 2010
Products affected: All their pharmaceuticals products including Magnaspartate®, Relactagel®, Renapro, Renamil and Imunovir®.
Available from: Alliance Healthcare

Leo
New Arrangements with effect: 1st October 2009.
Available from: AAH, Phoenix and  Alliance Healthcare
Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).

Lifescan
  

New Arrangements with effect: 1st December 2009.
Products affected: All Lifescan Products
Available from: AAH, Phoenix and  Alliance Healthcare

Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).

 

Lundbeck

New Arrangements with effect: 1st November 2010 (updated)
Products affected: All Lundbeck Products -
downloadable product list
Available from: Alliance Healthcare only

Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).

Support: Should you encounter any problems obtaining Lundbeck products contact Lundbeck Customer Service department on 01908 638935.

Alliance Healthcare letter to contractors


Medac (Metoject only)

New Arrangements with effect:1 March 2010
Products affected: Metoject
Available from: Alliance Healthcare
Distribution Model: Agency
Discount: Metoject is exempt from discount deduction.
Support: If you have any enquiries regarding this change or if you experience issues ordering Metoject, contact Alliance Healthcare.

Merck Sharpe and Dohme (MSD)

New Arrangements with effect: 1st October 2009.
Products affected: All MSD Products
Available from: AAH, Phoenix and  Alliance Healthcare

Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).

 

Napp

New Arrangements with effect: From 1st October 2007
Products affected: All Napp products
Available from: AAH, Phoenix and Alliance Healthcare
Discount: Note no discount is available on a number of Napp products which are listed in the 'Drugs for which discount is not deducted List' (Part II of the Tariff). Products not considered 'Zero Discount' are continuing to be sold on standard terms to the three chosen distributors, discount available to contractors on these lines is set by the wholesalers.
Support: Should you encounter any problems obtaining Napp products contact Napp Customer Service department on 0122 342 4444.

Novartis

New Arrangements with effect: From 4th Augst 2008
Products affected: All Novartis products with the exception of the following products which are only available direct from Novartis with effect 1st June 2010: Aclasta, Afinitor, Exjade, Glivec, Myfortic, Sandimmun, Sandostatin LAR, Tasigna, Tobi and Zometa 
Available from: AAH and Alliance Healthcare
Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).
More information:
Novartis Press Statement (June 2008)

Novartis Press Statement (May 2010)

Novo Nordisk

New Arrangements with effect: 2nd March 2009
Products affected: All products
Available from:  Alliance Healthcare or Phoenix only.
Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model). Note, a number of the affected products are listed in the 'Drugs for which discount is not deducted List' (Part II of the Tariff).
Support: Should you encounter any problems obtaining Novo Nordisk products please call the Novo Nordisk customer service department on 0845 600 5055

Pfizer

Start date: 5th March 2007
Products affected: Pfizer Prescription Only Medicines and with effect from 12th April 2010 all Wyeth Prescription Only Medicines
.Available from: Alliance Healthcare
Discount: Determined by Pfizer
Support: Should you encounter any problems obtaining Pfizer products contact Pfizer customer service department on 0845 6088866. An up to date list of Pfizer products in short supply and which are only available on an emergency basis through Pfizer can be found on the Pfizer DTP Website.

Roche UK

New Arrangements with effect: From 15th January 2009
Products affected: All Roche products
Available from: AAH and Alliance Healthcare  will supply most products however there are a number of lines which will only be available from Roche direct
Discount: Discount available to contractors on these lines is set by the wholesalers.
Support: If you have any queries regarding this information or relating to ordering arrangements, please contact Customer Care on 0800 731 5711.

Roche Letter to Contractors + List of Products

Roche Media Statement

Roche letter - July 2010

Should pharmacies have demand for Copegus, Fuzeon, Mircera, Neorecormon, Pegasys, Pulmozyme, Tarceva, Valcyte, Xeloda please contact Roche Customer Care on 0800 731 5711 who will arrange to supply packs directly to pharmacy on the next working day although longer delivery timelines may apply to highlands and islands. Standard delivery is free of charge.

Sanofi Aventis

Products affected: All Sanofi Aventis Products
Available from: AAH, Phoenix and Alliance Healthcare
Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).
Support: Should you encounter any problems obtaining Sanofi Aventis products, contact Sanofi Aventis customer service department on 0800 854430

Schering Plough 

New Arrangements with effect: 1st July 2010 
Products affected: All Schering Plough Products (Products list: List of Schering Plough products)
Available from: AAH, Phoenix and  Alliance Healthcare

Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).

Servier Laboratories Ltd

New Arrangements with effect: 1st August 2010

Products affected: All Servier Laboratories branded products.

Available from: AAH, Phoenix and Alliance Healthcare.

Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).

Shire

New Arrangements with effect: 4th May 2010
Products affected: List of affected Shire products
Available from:  AAH, Alliance Healthcare & Phoenix
Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).
Support:  If you have any issues obtaining stock call Shire's Customer Care Centre on 01234 248653

The change in distribution will not affect Shire Human Genetic Therapies products (Replagal, Elaprase and Firazyr) or Equasym. These products should continue to be bought via their existing route.

Smith & Nephew Advanced Wound Management.

New Arrangements with effect: 1st June 2009
Products affected: All Products
Available from: AAH, Phoenix and
Alliance Healthcare
Support: If you have any queries regarding this information or relating to ordering arrangements, please contact Smith & Nephew Customer Care on (01482) 673848 or visit http://www.smith-nephew.com/

UCB (Neupro only)
Start date: 27 April 2009
Products affected: Neupro
Available from: Alliance Healthcare
Discount: The Department of Health have designated Neupro as a drug for which discount is not deducted.
Support: If you have any enquiries regarding this change or if you experience issues ordering Neupro please contact UCB Pharma customer services on 01753 477770.

UCB 

Start date: 1st November 2009
Products affected:All UCB products except Neupro (see above)
Available from AAH, Alliance Healthcare & Phoenix  :  
Discount: Discount available on these lines is set by wholesalers (standard wholesaling model).
Support: If you have any enquiries regarding this change or if you experience issues ordering UCB products please contact UCB Pharma customer services on 01753 477770.

 Wyeth (Pfizer) 

Start date: 12th April 2010
Products affected: All Wyeth Prescription Only Medicines
Available from: Alliance Healthcare
Discount: Determined by Pfizer (DTP/Agency Arrangement)
Support: Should you encounter any problems obtaining Pfizer products contact Pfizer customer service department on 0845 608 8866.

Click here to view the Pfizer letter to contractors


 OFT Report into Manufacturers Distribution Arrangements

In December 2007, the OFT published its market study into the distribution of medicines in the UK.

During the OFT Investigation, PSNC made strong representations to the Office of Fair Trading opposing sole distribution arrangements which limit competition in the wholesale market as well as choice for pharmacy contractors.

The OFT considered the impact on the sector of Pfizer Limited's exclusive DTP scheme using only UniChem, and the likely impact of other manufacturers introducing DTP schemes and/or reducing the number of distributors they use. The OFT has found that there is a significant risk that such arrangements will result in higher costs to the NHS potentially running into hundreds of millions of pounds. The OFT also found that such schemes could affect services to pharmacies and patients through, for example, longer waiting times to receive medicines.

Financial Impact of DTP Schemes

The OFT has recommended that the Department of Health makes further changes to the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) to ensure that NHS medicines costs do not increase as a result of changes in distribution, and follows on from the OFT recommendations in February 2007 to reform the PPRS. The OFT has put forward two options to prevent an increase in NHS costs:

Option 1: To reduce list prices in the PPRS framework by an amount equivalent to the average discounts received by pharmacies. The price agreed under the PPRS would be that at which medicines are sold to pharmacies. (If this proposal was adopted, changes would be required to the reimbursement arrangements, for example the discount deduction arrangements may be removed or changed and changes may be required to established payment mechanisms to compensate pharmacies for lost purchasing profits)

Option 2: Pharmaceutical suppliers offering a minimum list price discount to pharmacies. This would accommodate both DTP and the traditional wholesale model. (This option would also require changes to be made to the reimbursement arrangements)

The OFT's preferred option if option 1.

Impact on Service Levels

The OFT is also recommending that, if the Government is concerned about reductions in service standards to pharmacies, it should seek the agreement of manufacturers to adopt minimum service standards. Government should ensure that it pays less if service standards are reduced. The OFT also found that any future widespread use of exclusive distribution arrangements might lead to longer-term competition concerns and it will monitor the situation with the prospect of future investigation, if appropriate.

Click on the link below to download the report in full:

OFT Report on Medicines Distribution

Government Response to the OFT Report

The Government published it's response to the OFT study in early May. The Government agreed with the OFT that the impact on NHS costs from such schemes could be addressed through the current renegotiation of the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS). On services, the Government was unconvinced of the need to bring forward legislation to clarify service standards at this stage, but have said they will keep this matter under review and may consider taking action at a later date in the event that this becomes necessary. Click on the link below to view the response in full:

Government Response to OFT Medicines Distribution Study

PSNC is continuing to receive reports of supply issues linked to changes in manufacturers' distribution arrangements, particularly Pfizer's single channel distribution model. We would encourage pharmacy contractors to continue to report problems that impact on patient care and we will ensure this is fed in to the Department of Health to support their ongoing monitoring work.

PSNC Online Survey on Pfizer's Arrangements

In Summer 2007,  pharmacy contractors shared their experiences of the changes to Pfizer’s distribution arrangements in an online survey on the PSNC website. Of the pharmacy contractor representatives who responded:

  • 72% said order cut-off times have deteriorated.
  • 73% said predictability of delivery times have reduced. 88% said staff time costs in reconciling invoices had increased.
  • 84% said changes to the delivery arrangements for Pfizer products had adversely affected their ability to provide a service to patients.
  • 5% indicated that they had switched to Unichem for the supply of non-Pfizer products.

PSNC representatives met with OFT officials to brief them fully on the concerns of contractors and to share the results from the online survey.


Frequently Asked Questions

The level of discount being offered by Pfizer is lower that I currently receive from my full line wholesaler, surely this is detrimental to contractor funding?

Under the new contract, pharmacies in England are guaranteed £500m of purchase profit income. The £500m is calculated by reference to the profit that independent pharmacies can earn.

The purchase profit income is measured by invoice inquiries, collection of invoices from a sample of independent pharmacies, to identify actual levels of discount they are receiving. So in calculating the purchase profits available to independent pharmacies, they will take full account of any changes in the average discount levels for Pfizer products that independents earn. If full line wholesalers adjust their statement discounts to reflect the removal of Pfizer purchases, this will also be picked up. Once the exercise is completed, any necessary adjustments will be made to reimbursement prices or to the discount scale to deliver the promised £500m.

The new contract funding arrangements are fundamentally different from the old contract where there were no guarantees around purchase profit income and no protection for contractors from significant changes in the market affecting purchase profit income.

More information about the New Contract Funding arrangements including the profit monitoring arrangements can be found in the National Contract Funding Section of the Website.

Background Information

OFT Report on the PPRS Arrangements (PDF File) 

OFT Report on Medicines Distribution (PDF File)


DOWNLOADS: Some documents are available in PDF format, you will require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or later for viewing which can be downloaded from the Adobe Website

DOWNLOADS:
Some documents are available in ‘Microsoft Word’ format. If you do not have Microsoft Word, you can read these forms by downloading the free 'Word Viewer'. This program can be downloaded at the Microsoft website