Four packs of Duloxetine E/C Caps have shown repeating cycles of shortages, price variation sand concessions. These sorts of cycles are seen in about 80% of generic products, and can result in severe shortages which affect patients, pharmacies, clinicians and tax payers. We believe that these cycles are predictable and the low prices which trigger shortages can be anticipated.
Each of the Duloxetine E/C Caps packs we looked at seems to follow the same pattern as its fellows, and the price spikes are accompanied by concession prices granted by DHSC as a response to shortages flagged by the PSNC. The average time periods between the Duloxetine price spikes is three years, which seems to be the time required for free market competition to drive prices down to levels at which manufacturers can no longer make a profit.
They then cancel manufacturing orders as they regard these low trigger price as warning of lower future prices and financial losses. Each of the price spikes on our graph was accompanied by concession prices, including the one currently underway. Prices rise as a consequence of the competition for the remaining available stock to dispense to patients, and only start to fall again when manufacturers bring in fresh stock.
The cyclic nature of these price and availability cycles means that some of them can be predicted, which suggests suppliers would know more than their competitors and have an advantage over them. In addition to this, each product has a trigger price at which a shortage and price spike is considerably more likely. These are in this case Duloxetine E/C Caps 20mg 28 £2.03, Duloxetine E/C Caps 30mg 28 £0.88, Duloxetine E/C Caps 40mg 56 £3.95 and Duloxetine E/C Caps 60mg 28 £1.33.