Q: The local surgery has started to write prescriptions for branded generics instead of just writing the generic description. Will I get paid the same price for the branded generics?

A: No, reimbursement for the branded generic will be based on the NHS list price of that product rather than the generic listing in the Drug Tariff.

I will take, as an example, a generic script for Ethinylestradiol 30microgram/Levonorgestrel 150microgram x 63 tablets. This is listed in Part VIIIA of the Drug Tariff* as a Category C item with reimbursement of £2.82 (March 2020).

There are a number of products that match this generic description and so could be dispensed; for example the originator brands Microgynon® and Ovranette®, branded generics such as Rivegidon® and Levest® as well as ‘true’ generics.

On a prescription written generically, no matter which product is actually supplied, the pharmacy will be reimbursed £2.82. This provides some scope for margin if the product supplied costs less than the tariff price. For example, if the product Rigevidon® was dispensed at a cost of £1.89 then 93p would be made on the reimbursement price.

If, however, the prescription is written for the branded generic Rigevidon®, the pharmacy will still pay £1.89 but will only be reimbursed for the NHS list price of £1.89, thereby eliminating the margin.

This concept holds true for any branded generic prescription where the generic description is listed in Part VIIIA (or equivalent section).

*Northern Ireland Drug Tariff; Part 1, £2.82, March 2020.

In this specific example, the generic description Ethinylestradiol 30microgram/Levonorgestrel 150microgram x 63 tablets is not listed in the Scotland Drug Tariff. Therefore reimbursement will be based on the contractor’s endorsement of manufacturer, pack size and price.

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