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Document Information on the container allowance and consumables

The Container Allowance covers automatic payments to pharmacy contractors to cover medicines not dispensed in their original pack size and those dispensed with consumables, i.e. items that aid the consumption of a medication. For further information, see Part IV of the Drug Tariff.


All pharmacy contractors are paid 10p whenever they are required to split the original pack of a drug, other than those listed as a special container, in order to complete the dispensing of a prescription. This covers all of the following:
  • Items listed in Part VIIIA of the Tariff.
  • Items not listed in Part VIIIA of the Tariff, for the pack size published by the manufacturer, wholesaler or supplier is endorsed by or on behalf of the contractor.
  • Items where the pack size is unknown by the Pricing Authority, for the pack size endorsed by the contractor.
For contractors who have dispensed any drug except for oral liquid methadone against an FP10MDA prescription form, the container allowance will be paid once per instalment regardless of whether the amount dispensed matches a listed pack size. This is intended to be a temporary measure that came into effect in April 2013.

For oral liquid methadone, this payment will only be made where the total volume prescribed is outside a pack size listed in Part VIIIA Drug Tariff listed pack (or a multiple of).

The container allowance will be paid automatically and no endorsement is required to claim this fee.

This payment is only paid to pharmacy contractors.


All pharmacy contractors are paid 1.24p on every prescription item (except oxygen) dispensed to cover those instances when one of the following is required but not supplied by the manufacturer of the medication:
  • A 5ml plastic measuring spoon
  • A 1, 5 or 10ml plastic oral syringe
  • A dropper bottle or separate dropper for administration by ear eye or nose
  • A vaginal applicator for contraceptive creams or gels.
  • In very exceptional circumstances, this will also cover a payment for a diluent. (The prescription should be endorsed appropriately in this instance) This would cover a scenario such as:
Ventolin 1mg/5ml (half strength) Syrup prescribed
Dispensed as – Ventolin 2mg/5ml syrup diluted with syrup
No endorsement is required for these items, but contractors must make sure that they comply with the relevant specifications given in Part IV of the Drug Tariff.

Consumables are not prescribable on their own and cannot be written by the prescriber on the FP10 as a separate item.

This payment is only paid to pharmacy contractors.