Medicines Shortages

Published on: 1st February 2022 | Updated on: 16th October 2023

Reminder for contractors: When a medication is available as both a standard generic medication and an unlicensed special, the prescription will be paid as the generic unless there is an indication from the prescriber that a specific brand or unlicensed special is to be given in place.

Contractors should also ensure that all appropriate endorsements are added to the prescription to ensure that they are reimbursed correctly. Any queries please contact the pricing helpdesk:

When a medication is unavailable, and the only option is to provide a special or unlicensed import (as detailed in a communication from the Medicines Shortages Advisory Group) then the following 3-stage process should be followed:-

  1. After confirming with the prescriber that they are happy for the unlicensed product/ special to be supplied. Return the script to the prescriber to make the necessary changes*.
  2. Ensure the script is correctly endorsed**.
  3. Submit the prescription for pricing in Group 1A.

* Note: Payment for broken bulk will not be made so contractors are advised to ensure that the prescription is for a pack wherever possible.
** A reminder of the endorsement process is shown below

Where this process is not followed the pharmacy will only receive the payment for the item as listed in the drug tariff; if a contractor realises that they have submitted a prescription in the June 2020 bundle without making the appropriate changes, they are advised to source a new prescription from the prescriber (and endorse appropriately) and contact NWSSP to request that the previously supplied prescription is not paid.

Endorsement and payment of non-Part VIIIB items
This is a worked example of how to endorse items that are not listed in Part VIIIB and how this endorsement is used to calculate the reimbursement price.

Worked example: (see picture below)
• Quantity dispensed – 15 capsules
• Pack size – 30 capsules
• Product should be endorsed with quantity dispensed over pack size used.
• Price should be the price per pack less any discount/rebates and not the total invoice price.
Reimbursement calculation: One pack of 30 costs £30, so pro-rata Primary Care Services will pay £15 for dispensing 15 (example price only)

Additional endorsing requirements: The following endorsements are also required to ensure correct payment.
• Special Manufacturer’s or Importer’s MHRA licence number
• Batch Number of the product
• Specials Procurement Fee (SP)