Price adjustment for Azathioprine 50mg/5ml oral suspension (February and March 2024)

Following representations made by Community Pharmacy England, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has agreed that prescriptions requesting Azathioprine 50mg/5ml oral suspension (Special Order)  submitted as dispensed in February and March 2024 will be reimbursed based on the product endorsed.

Prescriptions submitted as dispensed in February or March 2024 will  be reimbursed as follows:

Product supplied and endorsed How NHSBSA will reimburse in February/March 2024
Licensed product – Jayempi® 10mg/ml oral suspension 200ml Pharmacies will be reimbursed for the licensed product Jayempi® 10mg/ml oral suspension 200ml in line with special container rules where applicable.
Unlicensed special – Azathioprine 50mg/5ml oral suspension Pharmacies will be reimbursed based on the Part VIIIB  price in the relevant months Drug Tariff (£33.56 per 100ml and then 6p per every additional ml).
No endorsement Where there is no endorsement, NHSBSA will contact the pharmacy to establish what was supplied and reimburse accordingly.

This follows the launch of a licensed version of Azathioprine 10mg/ml oral suspension sugar free (Jayempi® in 200ml size) with an NHS list price of £250.00 by Nova Laboratories Ltd. However, in February and March there was a listing for an unlicensed Azathioprine 50mg/5ml oral suspension in Part VIIIB of the Drug Tariff. Therefore, according to Drug Tariff rules, any generically written prescriptions for Azathioprine 10mg/1ml (or 50mg/5ml) oral suspension sugar free would be reimbursed according to the price listed in Part VIIIB of the February and March Drug Tariffs (£33.56 per 100ml and then 6p per every additional ml).

This led to concerns from pharmacy owners regarding the reimbursement risks for supplying the licensed product against a generically written prescription for Azathioprine 10mg/1ml (or 50mg/5ml) oral suspension sugar free. To reflect the availability of the licensed product from February 2024, Community Pharmacy England made representations to DHSC in March seeking an adjustment to the reimbursement price for February and March prescriptions.

Pharmacy teams should note the DHSC also agreed to the following changes from the April 2024 Drug Tariff:

  • The addition of licensed Azathioprine 10mg/ml oral suspension sugar free (200ml) to Category C based on Jayempi®
  • The deletion of unlicensed Azathioprine 50mg/5ml oral suspension from Part VIIIB

An alternative solution formulation of Azathioprine 50mg/5ml is also listed in Part VIIIB of the Drug Tariff. Any prescriptions for Azathioprine 50mg/5ml oral solution will continue to be reimbursed as an unlicensed special.

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