Statement on rebates

This statement outlines that the Urology Trade Association’s (UTA) concerns about NHS bodies requiring or encouraging suppliers to offer rebates on prescriptions under Part IXA and Part IXB of the Drug Tariff as part of their procurement processes.

The attached March 2012 legal opinion by Charles Béar QC found that introducing rebates is not permitted under s. 126 of the NHS Act 2006, which outlines remuneration arrangements for persons providing pharmaceutical services.

This means that:

  1. A CCG cannot lawfully accept a rebate from manufacturers in respect of FP10 supplies; and
  2. A CCG cannot enter into alternative local arrangements whereby it sets up and operates its own parallel system of procurement and distribution of appliances.

Additionally, the 23rd November 2015 Regional Action Bulletin from NHS England states the following: “Regional Teams are reminded that the provision of appliances (such as stoma and continence products) to patients through FP10 prescriptions are subject to the normal rules regarding patient choice of supplier or provider (Dispensing Appliance Contractor, Pharmacy, GP dispenser) and, as such, should not be subject to arrangements with a single or preferred supplier.

In particular, a CCG cannot lawfully accept a so-called rebate or payment from manufacturers or others in respect of the supplies of stoma products within its area under Part 7 of the National Health Service Act 2006, as amended (FP10 supplies) within its area, nor can it enter into alternative local supply arrangements for the procurement and distribution of such products.”

The UTA supports Part IX of the Drug Tariff for the supply of urology and ostomy products, as this provides all patients across England, regardless of where they live, access to a wide range of products suitable for their specific individual needs. These products have been centrally assessed as clinically effective and good value for money to the NHS. The transparency of pricing across the system also helps prevent price variations across settings.

The Drug Tariff provides a fair and efficient system of reimbursement for suppliers, many of which are small businesses and encourages innovation by providing a clear and consistent route to market for new products. The UTA is opposed to measures which may undermine this system, including rebates.