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Document Introduction to the Drug Tariff

What is the Drug Tariff?

The Drug Tariff is produced monthly by the Pharmaceutical Directorate of the NHS Business Services Authority; NHS Prescription Services.

The Drug Tariff provides information on what will be paid to contractors for NHS Services including both reimbursement (e.g. the cost of drugs and appliances supplied against an NHS Prescription form) and remuneration (for example professional fees / allowances which are paid as part of the NHS pharmacy contract).

It also provides information on items which cannot be prescribed on an NHS prescription and any restrictions on certain items.

The Preface

Take a look at this section each month as it contains valuable information relevant for that edition and the next. It contains additions, deletions and any other alterations to the Drug Tariff. Take careful note of deletions to Parts IXA, IXB, IXC and IXR for if a deleted product is dispensed the prescription will be returned disallowed.

This section outlines the meaning of common terms used in the Tariff.
Part I
The requirements which contractors must meet in order to supply and be reimbursed for items they have dispensed. This includes submission and payment timescales, and covers Clauses 1 to 5C.

Part II

This section states how the payments made to a pharmacy contractor are calculated. It includes guidance on the endorsement requirements; quantity to be supplied; Special Container rules; Broken Bulk arrangements; Out of Pocket Expenses; Drugs requiring reconstitution and the List of Drugs for Which Discount is not Deducted. Clauses 6 to 13 are in this section.


Part IIIA sets out the arrangements for the professional fees and additional fees that contractors can claim.


These are the current fees for Appliance Contractors. Appliance contractors are different from pharmacy contractors. They specialise in the supply on prescription of appliances, in particular, stoma and incontinence appliances. This section is not applicable to pharmacy contractors.

Part IV

Part IV of the Drug Tariff provides more details on the consumables and containers that must be supplied and the arrangements for paying the container allowance.

Part V

This is the deduction (discount) scale. A percentage is deducted from pharmacy contractors monthly payments according to the value of prescriptions dispensed.

Part VIA

This section of the Tariff provides information on the payments for Essential Services. This includes information on the Establishment Payments, Practice Payments (Wales only), Repeat dispensing Payment (Wales only), 
ETP / IT Allowances and Summary Care Records Allowance (England only). 

Part VIB

This section provides information on the payments for Essential Services that Appliance Contractors receive. This section is not applicable to pharmacy contractors.

Part VIC
Information on Advanced Services can be found here and includes MURs; NMS; Stoma Customisation, Appliance Use Reviews, Community Pharmacy Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Service and the Urgent Medicine Supply pilot scheme. 
Part VID
This section details the Advanced Services for Welsh contractors.
Part VIE
Enhanced Services for pharmacy contractors such as provision of Emergency Hormonal Contraception and the Seasonal Influenza Vaccination programme are outlined here.

Part VII

This section details the Quality Payments Scheme for England. 


These are the basic prices for generic drugs.


This is the list of Drug Tariff Specials and Imported Unlicensed Medicines. It includes the policy and guidance to claiming for these items, as well as the list and prices of the Drug Tariff Specials and Imports.

Part IXA

These are permitted appliances and dressings. This chapter starts by listing the Technical Specifications for each section of dressings or appliances. Only those items listed in this section will be allowed on NHS prescription.

Part IXB

This is the Incontinence Appliance section. It is divided into sections covering different components, e.g. belts, sheaths, tubes, etc. When looking for an item first decide which section it may come under, e.g., Incontinence Belts. The sub-section is then divided into alphabetical manufacturers listing their products, codes, pack sizes and prices. At the end of Part IXB is a list of manufacturers together with their addresses and telephone numbers.

Part IXC

This is the Stoma Appliance section and is similar in layout to the Incontinence section. Again a list of manufacturers and their contact details is included at the end of the section.

Part IXR

These are the only chemical reagents allowed on a NHS prescription. Only those pack sizes stated will be allowed.
Part X
This section outlines the guidelines of the Home Oxygen Therapy Service.
Part XI
This provides information on the Pharmacy Access Scheme England. 
The Welsh Essential Small Pharmacies Scheme is outlined here.
This section relates to the payments made by NHS England Local Area Teams for pre-registration trainee pharmacists.


This details the reward payments to be made where a contractor correctly identifies a fraudulent prescription and thereby prevents fraud.


This details the payment to contractors to take into account of prescription pricing processing errors related to the Capacity Improvement Programme from 1st April 2011 up to 31 March 2012. It also outlines the current process for contractors to query prescription pricing errors.


This provides information on the devolvement of the global sum and the temporary safeguarding of payments.

Part XV

This outlines items commonly referred to as Borderline Substances. In certain conditions, some foods and toiletry preparations have the characteristics of drugs. A board known as the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) advises on the circumstances in which these products may be regarded as drugs. List A is an alphabetical index of the products and List B is an alphabetical index of conditions and those products suitable for the conditions.

Part XVI

This section covers prescription charges, exemptions and examples of the application of charges. It also includes instructions on the Prescription Charge Refund Procedure.


This is the Dental Prescribing Formulary. This list is definitive and only those substances stated will be permitted on Form FP10D. Although the Dental Formulary displays products by their generic titles and dentists are strongly encouraged to prescribe generically, a product may be ordered on Form FP10 (D) by its brand name providing that the brand is not listed in Part XVIIIA of the Drug Tariff (the blacklist).

Part XVIIB (i)

This is the Nurse Prescribers' Formulary for Community Practitioners. Community Practitioner Nurse Prescribers are only entitled to prescribe medicines from this list or appliances from part IX of the Drug Tariff.

Part XVIIB(ii)

Nurse independent prescribers are able to prescribe any licensed medicine including Prescription Only Medicines for any medical condition within their level of experience and competence with some exceptions. In particular they only have authority to prescribe a limited number of controlled drugs which are set out in this section of the Tariff.


The National Out-Of-Hours Formulary


This section of the Tariff is commonly known as the 'Blacklist'. All items listed here are not permitted on an NHS prescription.


This is the Selected List Scheme which lists items that may be prescribed under certain conditions. Prescriptions must be marked 'SLS' by the prescriber.

The reasons why some items are restricted or not prescribable are outlined here as part of the European Commission Transparency Directive.
Part XIX
This section covers the payments due to pharmacists who are subject to suspension and unable to practice.
Part XX
The details of the requirements relating to the requisition and dispensing of controlled drugs are outlined in this section, including those dispensed privately.
Part XXI

See also...

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