Q. What do I charge for prescriptions dispensed in March but collected in April?

A. Pharmacy contractors in England will be aware of the new prescription charge, applicable from 1 April. This will apply to ALL prescriptions presented for dispensing on or after 1 April.

Some Numark members have enquired about what to do when a chargeable prescription was dispensed in March but is awaiting collection by the patient.

There is no official guidance on whether the charge liable is at the old rate or the new and so Information Services provide the following advice to members:

The simplest process to follow is to charge the patient the amount applicable at the time they are paying for the prescription, and most patients would not query this.

However, if the prescription was collected from the surgery in March and was dispensed by you in March and awaiting collection by the patient there is a case for charging at the old rate. There would be nothing to stop you charging the rate applicable at the time the prescription was labelled and dispensed as the date of dispensing (in March) will be on the prescription form.

This means that if a prescription is signed and dated by the GP before 1 April AND received at the pharmacy and labelled before 1 April, the old prescription charge is payable – even if the patient doesn’t collect it (and pay for it) until after 1 April.

Contractors are reminded that there is space on the FP34C submission document to indicate the number of prescriptions charged at the old rate. They are also advised to sort these prescriptions using a red separator prior to submission.

The same principle applies when ETP2 prescriptions are downloaded from the spine (considered prescribed and signed by the GP) and synchronised and confirmed (dispensed) by the pharmacy.

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If you have any questions about the Drug Tariff - send Sue a message or call Information Services on 0800 783 5709