Reported drug quota issues – update

Reported drug quota issues – update

August 5, 2020

PSNC is urging community pharmacy teams to continue to report issues obtaining stock due to drug quota allocations and contingency arrangements applied by wholesalers and/or manufacturers not only to help with our investigation into wider quota issue(s) affecting the supply chain but also to assist with our representation work on these matters.

Since the launch of the quota issues reporting form, PSNC has received over 230 contractor reports covering over 60 drugs reported to be affected by manufacturer and/or wholesaler-led quota restrictions. Initial observations from reports over the last two months indicate (not in order of priority):

  • Problems with prescription validation processes – nearly half of respondents were unsuccessful in obtaining stock despite carrying out wholesaler or manufacturer-led prescription validation.
  • Particular challenges with Reduced Wholesaler Arrangement (RWA) distribution models – particularly for those contractors who do not use any of the nominated wholesaler(s) as their first line wholesaler.
  • Significant time spent by pharmacy teams navigating through wholesaler/manufacturer-led quota allocation processes to obtain individual products – nearly a third of contractors reported spending more than 2 days sourcing a drug due to quota issues
  • Few reports of actual or risk to patient harm arising due to quota allocations. In some cases patients were referred back to their prescriber for an alternative.

PSNC has used these findings as evidence to support further investigation into both individual and wider supply issues created by drug quota allocation processes. We are continuing to work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA), Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and relevant manufacturer(s) to help resolve on-going quota issues and seek improvements to existing drug quota allocation processes.

Contractors can feed into this work going forwards by completing our reporting form here. If you wish to provide a more detailed report then please email

Reporting other supply issues

You can also report the following to PSNC:

Report a product only available to purchase over Drug Tariff price
Please use the form above to report a generic medicine obtained over the Drug Tariff price for PSNC to consider a price concession request.

Report a quota restricted line
Please use the form above to report quota restrictions applied on any branded products.

Report a medicine shortage
Please use the form above to report any new medicine shortages not listed on the monthly supply update published on the Specialist Pharmacy Service (SPS) website. We regularly share any feedback received on reported drug shortages with DHSC to support its monitoring of the supply chain.

Report a problem obtaining an appliance listed in the Drug Tariff
Please use the form above to report problems experienced in obtaining a product listed in Part IX of the Drug Tariff.

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