How profitable are English Pharmacies?

Aug 22, 2022 | Generics

Comparing Retail Market Prices with the English Drug Tariff.

Wavedata have been collecting the prices offered to or paid by pharmacies since 2000, so we thought we’d do a comparison between the generic prices we collected in August 2022 and the English Drug Tariff.

We found that of the 3,936 products in the drug tariff, 307 had average pharmacy prices above the tariff, 2,334 had average market prices which were the same as the tariff which meant these were ZD (zero discount) products where the pharmacy broke-even and 1,295 had market prices below the tariff where pharmacies were able to make a profit.

This means that pharmacies would lose money on the 307 products unless a concession was in place (61 product price concessions were published on the 15th and 19th August), they would break even on the 2,334 and make a profit on the remaining 1,295.

The product with the greatest potential loss was Aripiprazole Tabs 10mg 28 which had an average market price of £20.81, an English drug tariff of £1.00 and a potential loss of £19.81 unless a concession is granted before the end of the month.

Users of Wavedata Live can run this data themselves using the analysis / open reports (option 3) to show the market prices for the drug tariff categories, combining these in a spreadsheet and then adding the drug tariff (option 6).

The most profitable products for pharmacies were Olanzapine Orodispersible Tabs 10mg 28 and 20mg 28 where the market price was just 7% of the drug tariff. This meant that for the 20mg 28 the market price was £5.43 and the tariff £79.98 and for the 10mg 28 the market price was £3.74 and the tariff £49.98.

The 20 top loss making products are:

Aripiprazole Tabs 10mg 28
Alendronate Tabs 70mg 4
Temazepam Tabs 20mg 28
Temazepam Tabs 10mg 28
Aripiprazole Tabs 5mg 28
Aripiprazole Tabs 15mg 28
Ondansetron Tabs 4mg 10
Nebivolol Tabs 2.5mg 28
Trospium Chloride Tabs 20mg 60
Promethazine Hydrochloride Tabs 25mg 56
Dosulepin Caps 25mg 28
Telmisartan Tabs 20mg 28
Ethinylestradiol + Levonorgestrel Tabs 30mcg/150mcg 63
Acetazolamide Tabs 250mg 112
Venlafaxine Tabs 75mg 56
Citalopram Tabs 20mg 28
Rabeprazole GR Tabs 20mg 28
Chlorpromazine Tabs 25mg 28
Risedronate Sodium Tabs 35mg 4
Glyceryl Trinitrate Tabs 500mcg 100


and the 20 most profitable products are:


Olanzapine Orodispersible Tabs S/F 5mg 28
Aspirin Tabs 300mg 32
Ethosuximide Caps 250mg 56
Pramipexole MR Tabs 260mcg 30
Phenobarbital Tabs 15mg 28
Phenobarbital Tabs 60mg 28
Furosemide Tabs 500mg 28
Olanzapine Orodispersible Tabs 15mg 28
Pramipexole MR Tabs 520mcg 30
Pramipexole MR Tabs 1.57mg 30
Dicycloverine Tabs 20mg 84
Pramipexole MR Tabs 2.62mg 30
Pramipexole MR Tabs 1.05mg 30
Pramipexole MR Tabs 3.15mg 30
Aripiprazole Oral Solution 1mg/ml 150ml
Risperidone Tabs 6mg 28
Pramipexole MR Tabs 2.1mg 30
Olanzapine Orodispersible Tabs 5mg 28
Olanzapine Orodispersible Tabs 10mg 28
Olanzapine Orodispersible Tabs 20mg 28
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