Over 100 products re-classified as Special Containers since May 2020

Over 100 products re-classified as Special Containers since May 2020

February 25, 2021

Following representations from PSNC, over 100 products have now been re-classified as special containers since May 2020. To view the latest changes to special container status, visit our Notice of changes to special container status of products page. This page is updated each month with all of the products that have been re-classified as special containers.

PSNC is awaiting responses from Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for over 600 other products that we believe meet the Drug Tariff criteria for special containers but have not been annotated accordingly in the Drug Tariff and NHS Dictionary of Medicines and Devices (dm+d). PSNC are in regular contact with several manufacturers to gather the required information in support of the applications for special container status and are also seeking a review of the current processes used by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) and DHSC to determine whether a product fulfils the Tariff criteria (see background below) for special containers.

PSNC’s checks are ongoing and we are continuing to submit applications for products which fit the criteria. If a pharmacy contractor believes that a product meets one or more of the four criteria outlined below, please contact the PSNC’s Dispensing and Supply Team by emailing info@psnc.org.uk, who will investigate whether the product meets the relevant special container criteria and make applications to the DHSC and NHSBSA, as appropriate.


Part II Clause 10 of the Drug Tariff sets out the rules for the quantity to be supplied of a prescribed product. Under the normal rules, pharmacy contractors are reimbursed for supplying the exact quantity ordered by the prescriber unless the preparation has been recognised as being packaged in a special container; for example, where the product is sterile or hygroscopic.

Part II CLAUSE 10 B of the Drug Tariff ‘Drugs and Chemical Reagents in Special Containers’ states the following:

“Where the quantity ordered by the prescriber does not coincide with that of an original pack and the drug or chemical reagent is: 

(i) Sterile 

(ii) Effervescent or hygroscopic, or 

(iii) (a) Liquid preparations for addition to bath water 

       (b) Coal Tar preparations 

       (c) Viscous external preparations 

(iv) Packed in a castor, collapsible tube, drop-bottle, pressurised aerosol, puffer pack, roll-on bottle, sachet, shaker, spray, squeeze pack, container with an integral means of applications, or any other container from which it is not practicable to dispense the exact quantity: 

the contractor shall supply in the special container or containers the quantity nearest to that ordered and endorse the prescription form with the number and size of those containers. Although payment will normally be based on the quantity nearest to that ordered, some items are available in a larger size pack or container than that normally required pursuant to orders on prescription forms. Where the amount ordered on a prescription form, or the frequency of supply, justifies supply from such larger size pack or container, payment will be based on the cost of that larger size in the absence of endorsement.” 

If you identify any particular product(s) which are not currently classed as special containers but you believe satisfy the criteria (as set out in Part II CLAUSE 10 B of the Drug Tariff), please notify PSNC’s Dispensing and Supply Team (0203 1220 810 or info@psnc.org.uk) who will investigate and assess if it meets the relevant criteria. Where appropriate, PSNC will make application to the NHSBSA and DHSC seeking for the special container status of the product(s) to be re-determined.

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