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Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many community pharmacies there were (a) in total and (b) per 100,000 population in (i) England (ii) each primary care trust; (255430)

(2) how many community pharmacies were under contract with their local primary care trust on (a) 31 March 2006, (b) 31 March 2007 and (c) 31 March 2008 to provide local enhanced services (i) in England and (ii) in each primary care trust area; and how many in each category provided (A) all local enhanced services, (B) anti-coagulant monitoring, (C) diseases specific medicines management, (D) gluten-free food, (E) home delivery, (F) language access, (G) medication reviews, (H) medications assessment and compliance support, (I) minor ailment schemes, (J) needle and syringe exchanges, (K) on-demand availability of specialist drugs, (L) out-of-hours services, (M) patient group direction, (N) prescriber support, (O) screening, (P) stop smoking services, (Q) supervised administration and (R) supplementary prescribing.

Details of the number of pharmacies in contract with primary care trusts (PCTs) at 31 March 2008 are contained in table 2 of the annual bulletins ‘General Pharmaceutical Services in England and Wales’ published by the Information Centre for health and social care. Breakdowns by PCT are in the online appendices.

The number of community pharmacies in contract with PCTs to provide local enhanced services is not collected centrally. Table 6 of the bulletins (table 9 in 1996-97 to 2005-06) lists the total number of local enhanced services provided by pharmacy contractors in contract with PCTs. An individual pharmacy contractor may offer more than one locally enhanced service. Again, breakdowns by PCT are in the online appendices.

Copies of the ‘General Pharmaceutical Services in England and Wales’ bulletins and associated online appendices for 1996-97 to 2005-06, 1997-98 to 2006-07 and 1998-99 to 2007-08 have been placed in the Library.

Copies are also available on the NHS Information Centre website: %20Wales%202007_08%20PCT%20LHB%20level%20Appendix.xls Wales%202007-08.pdf

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what reasons he has identified for the decline in the net ingredient cost of items dispensed by pharmacies over the last three years, referred to in the General Pharmaceutical Services in England and Wales 1998-99 to 2007-08 bulletin. (255526)

A number of factors have contributed to the decrease in the average net ingredient cost (NIC) per prescription item since April 2005. These include:

the introduction in April 2005 of the category M scheme for calculating the reimbursement prices of selected generic medicines, which has lowered overall generic medicine prices in 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08;

the introduction of the 2005 pharmaceutical price regulation scheme (PPRS) which required all companies that sold more than £1 million worth of branded medicines to the national health service to reduce prices by 7 per cent. This lowered overall branded medicine prices in 2005-06; and

more effective prescribing with high generic prescribing rates (83 per cent. of all prescription items were written generically in 2006). For example, the quarterly better care, better value indicator on statins has encouraged more systematic prescribing by general practitioners of therapeutically equivalent low cost generic statins in place of higher cost branded statins.