WaveData conducted a comparison of the average market prices given to accounts (pharmacies and dispensing doctors) by respiratory product manufacturers.
The average discounts given over a 10 year period are very consistent at 9%, which probably reflects the underlying reality. However, the maximum discount, which showed as 60% was relatively variable over the 10 year period. This may reflect some of the supplier price lists which WaveData collect purporting to be UK products, but actually being parallel imports.
The long-term track of the minimum discount given to accounts is highly variable, with an average of -54%. A negative discount is likely to reflect a shortage, so that the Pharmacy buys at a high price and is reimbursed by the NHS at a low price, thereby losing money. We know that shortages are getting worse month on month, and pharmacists are spending a considerable amount of time trying to track down products in short supply.
The number of products with negative discounts averaged about 5.5 month over the 10 year period. However, this has grown over the last 10 years from average of about 4 to closer to 8 per month today.