Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 8th February 2018.

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Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on competition and the availability of medicines across the community pharmacy network by the use of sole supplier agreements by branded manufacturers and wholesalers; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The majority of products supplied through restricted wholesale models are branded medicines, for which prices are controlled by the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme. The Department, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and pharmaceutical supply chain stakeholders agreed best practice guidelines for dealing with the supply and distribution of medicines, which set out that where restricted wholesale models are in place, manufacturers should put contingency arrangements in place so that pharmacies can obtain the product directly from the manufacturer if they cannot get it from their wholesaler.

The Office of Fair Trading conducted a market study about medicines distribution in 2007 and concluded that there may be efficiency benefits to direct-to-pharmacy distribution and took the view that manufacturers should be free to choose the distribution method they consider to be most efficient.

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