LETTER: Pharmacy freustration

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I was surprised by Tracy Robinson’s response to my letter.

I do not know which pharmacy she works for, but my experience is clearly at variance with what she states!

First, my GP always writes the name of the brand on the prescription.

Indeed she goes one step further and writes “FDC ONLY”. But the pharmacy, which is owned by the doctors, will not dispense the prescription. Every single doctor at the practice, who I have seen, refuses because they say that brand is not supplied by either of their contractors.

Further, I have been informed by two large chains of chemists and by NHS England to whom I complained, that NHS doctors surgeries are restricted to certain suppliers - usually 2 or 3 - to keep costs down, and the use of any other contractor in order to obtain a specific brand will incur a fee.

This is a reasonable economy as long as there is flexibility to allow for situations where adverse reactions to brands supplied by contracted firms enables pharmacies to obtain the needed brand without paying a fee.

According to two large pharmacy chains they incur a fee when they have to obtain a medication from a supplier they do not have a contract with. This is why I was told a few years ago by one such chain of chemists to ask my GP to prescribe a large number of the particular brand needed.

This the GP has done for the last few years. However, this time the pharmacist gave the prescription back and said the pharmacy could no longer pay to supply prescripted brands of medication not supplied by their contracted suppliers, and returned the prescription. I later contacted the manager of the chemist concerning this, and he agreed to try to obtain my medication, but it is costing the pharmacy a fee as it is deemed a special with a non-contracted firm.

At the end of her response, Ms Robinson suggests it is the GP’s decision as to what medication is prescribed. This point is not at issue. The point at issue is the refusal or reluctance of pharmacies to prescribe stipulated brands if not supplied by one of their contractors because of the fee the have to pay. I think if Ms Robinson researches the matter as I have done she will find that I am correct.

Evelyn Hetherington

Troymede, Balcombe

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