Dispensing appliances where brand is unspecified

Tariff Tips

Dispensing appliances where brand is unspecified

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         7p
  • 10cm x 10cm    13p
  • 20cm x 20cm    28p

The listed reimbursement price for Melolin 10x10cm is 27p, and one would assume this closely reflects the trade price. This represents a potential shortfall of 14p 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 Absopad:

  • 5cm x 5cm         7p  
  • 10cm x 10cm   13p  
  • 20cm x 10cm   28p 

So our advice is, unless you can obtain Melolin dressings at the prices listed above, you should only dispense Absopad 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 Comfigrip 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.

In the Northern Ireland Tariff the only product listed under the generic description (Dressing Absorbent Perforated Pad with Plastic Film Face) is PharmaPad.

If you have any questions about this particular tip or any other drug tariff query you can call Information Services on 0800 783 5709.

Tariff Tip written by Sue Swift, UK Drug Tariff and Information Technician

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