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Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much a pharmacist received for processing a prescription in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [119270]

Remuneration paid to community pharmacies is intended to cover the generality of the national health service pharmaceutical services they provide. The scope of these services is not restricted just to dispensing prescriptions and has changed over time.The dispensing fees paid to community pharmacy contractors vary according to the item prescribed. The large majority of prescriptions attract a basic dispensing fee, the current rate of which is 94.6 pence per item. However, if the total remuneration paid to community pharmacies in each year is divided by the number of dispensing fees paid, the result is as shown in the table.

Value of payments made to community pharmacies in England and Wales, per dispencing fee received
Number of dispensing fees paid (prescription items dispensed) in millionsTotal paid (£ million)Dispensing fee paid per prescription item dispensed (£)