Shortage of generic drugs
The shortage of generic drugs poses a real problem for pharmacists and patients.
If there is a shortage, some of the most common generics can triple or quadruple in price overnight. The Drug Tariff is extremely slow to respond by applying a concession price.
I would challenge anyone who claims that the patient is not suffering because of the unavailability, cost, inability to contact the GP, etc.
The main sacrificial lamb is the pharmacy and independent pharmacy in particular. If there is a shortage with a medicine in the market and the price has increased three to four times, we would try to provide the medicine to patients so they do not go without it but we will have paid that increased price and only be reimbursed the Tariff price.
It is simply ridiculous for the negotiating body to suggest that the pharmacist should contact the prescriber to change the prescription to another available product. This is yet another burden on a pharmacist. He or she is now in danger of being branded a nuisance by the GPs if one is able to talk to the GPs in the first place.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11138188
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