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Protest over dispensing cuts

Dispensing doctors have warned Government plans to cut reimbursement levels for four key drugs are 'unfair' and will leave them badly out of pocket.

The Department of Health said current reimbursement levels for omeprazole, simvastatin, doxazosin and lisinopril no longer represent 'reasonable value for money' because the drugs have become cheaper following patent expiries.

It proposed this week to address the 'significant differences' between reimbursement and procurement prices available to dispensing doctors.

From December 1, for example, it plans to cut the cost of 28 days' supply of 10mg omeprazole from around £18 to £12.15.

A month's simvastatin 40mg will drop from around £30 to £21.

But dispensing doctors' representatives say the cuts are unfair as most GPs are tied in to long-term, fixed-price deals with wholesalers.

Dr David Baker, chief executive of the Dispensing Doctors Association, said: 'The Government assumes most doctors will get an 11 per cent discount on the tariff because they claw it back.

'If they reduce the price to less than you can buy it for, it's going to be costing doctors every time they prescribe.'

Dr Baker, a GP in Saxelby and Branston, Lincolnshire, added: 'They're big drugs, high volumes and there are big losses that could be made.'

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