Pharmaceutical Services

Improving the cost-effectiveness of ‘Specials’ in Northern Ireland

How can Community Pharmacy support this initiative?

Currently community pharmacies are reimbursed on submission of the invoice price for any Special they procure. The HSC Business Services Organisation has undertaken an analysis of the spend on Specials across Northern Ireland and in particular looking at the variance of prices paid by community pharmacies for the same special order product.

BSO has identified some considerable differences in price between pharmacies where the same product has been prescribed.  There appears to be opportunity to reduce the total spend on specials if all pharmacies purchased lower cost specials. 

Analysis of Reimbursement Cost of Specials

Following the analysis of the nine special order products that have the total highest reimbursement cost in Northern Ireland between August 2014 and July 2015 the BSO have published Pareto charts that show how the unit cost of these nine specials differs between pharmacies.  

You can see the anonymised results for your pharmacy by putting your anonymised contractor number into the relevant cell on the report.  Click here to view the report.

Click here to see the Northern Ireland Medicines Management newsletter supplement on Specials.

If you have any queries please email