Dispensing GPs drop Pfizer in supply row

Dispensing practices across the UK have cut their use of Pfizer medicines after the firm switched to a new supply arrangement that cuts practice profits, GPs say.

Pfizer stopped using pharmaceutical wholesalers that have traditionally supplied drugs to dispensing practices, and switched to a single supply firm earlier this year (GP, 9 May).

The move brought to an end discount deals the practices had negotiated with wholesalers, and cut practice profits.

Dispensing practices have responded with a partial boycott of Pfizer products.

‘Every practice will have reviewed their use of Pfizer drugs and if there are changes they can make without affecting patient care or the cost to the NHS, they are likely to do so,’ said Dr David Baker, chief executive of the Dispensing Doctors’ Association (DDA).

‘It would surprise me if most practices had not reduced their use of the drugs to some degree.’

Pfizer drugs have accounted for around 15 per cent of prescriptions in recent years but this figure is likely to fall, Dr Baker said.

DDA chairman Dr Richard West said the supply arrangements had hit profits because they added extra work for practice staff.

‘There are new invoices, extra deliveries, and all this takes more time to do.’

The Office of Fair Trading launched a review of pharmceutical industry supply changes and their impact on competition and the NHS in April.

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