Q. I have received a generic prescription for ‘Absorbent, Perforated Plastic Film Faced, Dressing 10x10cm’. Can I dispense a Melolin dressing?

A. The generic description above is found in Part IXA of the England and Wales Drug Tariff. A number of branded products are listed under this generic description, including Melolin dressings. So Melolin does match this generic description and can be dispensed.

However, the Drug Tariff also makes the following statement:

Where the brand is not specified by the prescriber, for the sizes listed below, the Basic Price must not exceed:

  • 5cm   X 5cm        3p
  • 10cm x 10cm      9p
  • 20cm x 10cm    17p

The listed reimbursement price for Melolin 10x10cm is 29p (DT Jan 20), and one would assume this closely reflects the trade price. This represents a potential shortfall of 20p per dressing. So, if you dispense a Melolin dressing on a generic prescription you are likely to dispense at a loss.

The only product where the list prices match the reimbursement prices is 365 Non Adherent:

  • 5cm x 5cm         3p  
  • 10cm x 10cm     9p  
  • 20cm x 10cm   17p 

So our advice is, unless you can obtain Melolin dressings at the prices listed above, you should only dispense 365 Non Adherent dressings on generic prescriptions.

The rule for generic descriptions stated above (where the brand is not specified by the prescriber the  Basic Price must not exceed…..) also applies to certain other appliances in the Drug Tariff:

  • Permeable Non-Woven Surgical Synthetic adhesive Tape – a.k.a Micropore tape but where only Chemipore matches the reimbursement prices.
  • Elasticated Surgical Tubular Stockinette – a.k.a Tubigrip but where only Clinigrip and Surgrip match the reimbursement prices.

The key point in these cases is that simply endorsing a brand name on a generic prescription may not result in accurate payment. The only way to ensure you are not out of pocket is to supply a product sourced at or below the Drug Tariff list prices.

This rule does not apply to the Scotland Tariff where reimbursement is based on the brand endorsed by the pharmacist.

Need help?

Each week we will be highlighting a popular question or issue addressed by our information services team to help keep you informed about the hot topics being discussed by other members.

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