Understanding Part VIIIB of the Drug Tariff

Part VIIIB of the NHS Drug Tariff provides a structured framework for the reimbursement of some unlicensed medicines, also known as 'specials'. These are medications tailored to meet specific patient needs when licensed products are not available. Understanding Part VIIIB is essential for pharmacies to ensure accurate reimbursement for these unique preparations. This post outlines the key aspects of Part VIIIB, guiding pharmacies through the reimbursement process for unlicensed medicines.

Understanding Part VIIIB

Part VIIIB specifies the basic prices for certain unlicensed medicines, detailing how reimbursement is calculated based on the pack size and additional quantities prescribed. This part of the Drug Tariff plays a critical role in ensuring pharmacies are fairly compensated for the provision of these specialized medications, while also maintaining cost-effectiveness within the NHS.

Key Features of Part VIIIB

  • Listed Pack Size Reimbursement:

    For any unlicensed medicine listed in Part VIIIB, the pack size indicated is considered the minimum amount for reimbursement. If a prescription orders more than the listed pack size, the reimbursement is calculated as the price for one pack plus the list price for every additional millilitre (ml) or gram (g) prescribed.

    For example, for a prescription of 200ml of an unlicensed medicine with a Part VIIIB listed pack of 100ml, the price will be calculated as 1x 100ml pack price + 100 x 1ml list price.

  • Fixed Dispensing Fee:

    A fixed fee of £20 is allocated for dispensing any unlicensed special or import that is manufactured or supplied by a company operating under an MHRA specials license or importer's licence. To claim this payment, 'SP' must be endorsed on the prescription. This fixed fee is designed to cover all costs incurred in sourcing the product.

Implications for Pharmacy Contractors

Part VIIIB of the NHS Drug Tariff provides a clear methodology for the reimbursement of unlicensed medicines, ensuring that pharmacies are adequately compensated for the additional responsibilities and costs associated with dispensing these specialized treatments. Familiarity with the reimbursement rules, including the specific endorsements required for fixed fees, is crucial for pharmacy contractors to manage their financial operations effectively.

How Drug Tariff Pro Can Assist

Drug Tariff Pro simplifies the process of navigating Part VIIIB, offering up-to-date information, helping pharmacies to accurately calculate reimbursement for unlicensed medicines. Our platform ensures that pharmacies can efficiently manage the dispensing of specials, from understanding pack size reimbursement to accurately claiming fixed dispensing fees.


Part VIIIB of the NHS Drug Tariff is essential for the reimbursement of unlicensed medicines, providing a structured approach that balances the need for specialized patient care with cost-effectiveness. By utilising the resources and support available through Drug Tariff Pro, pharmacies can navigate the complexities of Part VIIIB with confidence, ensuring accurate reimbursement and compliance with NHS guidelines.

Unlock the full potential of the NHS Drug Tariff with a simple login or sign-up at Drug Tariff Pro.