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Container Allowance

Volume 227: debated on Friday 2 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what container allowance is paid by the NHS for calendar packs of drugs per container and in total; and how many drugs with two or three formulations or more come in one calendar package;(2) how much is paid by the NHS as a container allowance for drugs per prescription and in total; what percentage of drugs are not dispensed prepacked; and what percentage of packaged products are repackaged by pharmacists.

The container allowance is an average figure calculated on the basis of an annual inquiry. The inquiry takes account of the fact that not every prescription item needs a container. The resulting allowance—currently 6·5p—is then paid out for every prescription item, including where more than one formulation is contained in a calendar pack. The British National Formulary for March 1993 lists 19 calendar packs containing more than one formulation. In 1992–93, the cost of the container allowance in England was £18·8 million. Information about the percentage of drugs not dispensed in nre-packaged form or about packaged products that are then re-packaged by pharmacists is not available.