26. Mr. F. HALL (Dulwich)
asked the Secretary to the Treasury if the bills of chemists supplying drugs under the National Insurance Act have been heavily discounted in districts where sufficient funds were not available to pay them; if the accounts of the doctors have been similarly dealt with; if the charges for drugs are settled before the names of the chemists are placed upon the approved lists; if such discounting has in any case been due to overcharging; if so, whether chemists overcharging have been warned; and whether there are any grounds for introducing variations of prices in different districts?
The chemists in some areas have been paid under discount pending the result of the scrutiny in progress. The doctors are, however, paid on a different basis, and no such question arises in their case. In the normal course the tariff is settled, in substance at any rate, before the chemists renew their agreements, but in some cases details have been left for subsequent settlement by general consent. If by overcharging I correctly understand the hon. Member to mean pricing inaccurately and not in accordance with the tariff, such errors are discovered and adjusted when the accounts are examined. In reply to the last part of the question, if the hon. Member will give particulars of any cases he has in mind, I will make inquiries.
Is it not to the advantage of the insured person that he should be supplied with the best drugs? In view of circumstances which have recently occurred, does the hon. Gentleman think that insured persons will be able to obtain the best drugs?