Dispensing GP practices in Scotland will receive £2,000 from the government to cover the costs of complying with the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), but there is no information on whether pharmacists will be given similar funding.
The Dispensing Doctors’ Association (DDA) told its members that the funding would come as part of a £501,889 funding package for 2018/2019, intended to support general practice in rural areas.
In a letter to DDA members published on 25 January 2019, Matthew Isom, chief executive of the DDA, said the cash would come in the form of a one-off payment towards the cost of purchase and installation of FMD kit.
No equivalent funding for dispensing practises in England or Wales has been announced, and Isom advised members in England “not to invest in new kit, which may not be clinically integrated, may even be defunct within months, and not refunded by the NHS”.
The intentions of the administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland remain unclear, Isom said, adding that the DDA was working with the British Medical Association’s (BMA’s) General Practice Committee (GPC) to “establish the position”. He said that the DDA, together with the BMA’s GPC, has been “demanding that NHS England, and the health departments in the devolved nations, provide the necessary funding for practices to become compliant with the FMD”.
Pharmacists are currently expected to pay the costs of FMD compliance upfront. The four national community pharmacy negotiators in the UK have said that they are “working to ensure that contractors’ FMD-related costs are recognised in future NHS funding settlements”.
The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire local medical committee has already advised all of its GP practices not to pay for “expensive kit which might be redundant until we have clear national guidance”.