All my medication (apart from Copaxone) comes from the High Street pharmacy who have a branch attached to my GP surgery.
Finishing a packet of Gabapentin this morning, I reached for the bag of medications that I collected on Saturday. There is nothing else packed in the same size box, so I did not look at it until it was on my desk.
Sure enough, it was Gabapentin, but the box was a different colour and typeface.
- The “old” supply was from a large drug manufacturer and had a brand name (Neurontin) with Gabapentin in much smaller lettering.
- The “new” packet was marked Gabapentin and came from a manufacturer of generic drugs.
So, I reach for a copy of the BNF, and look at the price - Branded is 9 (yes, Nine) times the price of Generic.
That give rise to several thoughts:
- The budget that all GPs have for medication has been hit quite hard just for me. So multiply it a few thousand times, and how many people have not had the best medication because of this.
- In percentage terms, the profit on each product will likely be the same - but the difference in turnover will be substantial.~
- That in turn will affect the “Return on Capital Employed” which is a key figure that gets looked at when there is a takeover in the offing.
- So I do a quick Internet search - and find that a takeover deal has just been agreed for that High Street chain.
I don’t pay for my medication (too old) and the current prescription charge would recover the cost of generic Gabapentin - but would go no-where near the Branded price. So ultimately, it is the NHS that have been getting ripped off, with a possible effect on all of us. The remaining question is, of course, the big one - who in authority should have been checking on this?