FOI 20256



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Open Government Licence 2.0 (United Kingdom) [Open Data]

FOI 20256


The NHSBA recently published a report titled "General Pharmaceutical Services in England 2015/16 - 2020/21" Within that report there is a table which lists types of pharmacies. One description is listed as "distance selling" and provides the number of distance selling pharmacies in operation.

Can you provide the total number of items dispensed by these "distance selling pharmacies" on a month by month basis for FY2020-2021 (i.e. for the 12 month period 2020-2021) which I believe operates as from 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021.

Could you also provide the same data on a month by month basis for the year 2019-2020 , 2018-2019, 2017-2018 and 2016-2017. Just to be clear the table would be: Column 1 : Year/month Column 2 : Total items dispensed by distance selling pharmacies’


A copy of the information is attached.

NHS Prescription Services process prescriptions for Pharmacy Contractors, Appliance Contractors, Dispensing Doctors and Personal Administration with information then used to make payments to pharmacists and appliance contractors in England for prescriptions dispensed in primary care settings (other arrangements are in place for making payments to Dispensing Doctors and Personal Administration). This involves processing over 1 billion prescription items and payments totalling over £9 billion each year. The information gathered from this process is then used to provide information on costs and trends in prescribing in England and Wales to over 25,000 registered NHS and Department of Health and Social Care users.

Source System – ePACT2

Data in ePACT2 is sourced from the NHSBSA Information Services Data Warehouse and is derived from products prescribed on prescriptions and dispensed in the Community. The data captured from prescription processing is used to calculate reimbursement and remuneration. It includes items prescribed in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey / Alderney, Jersey and Isle of Man which have been dispensed in the community in England. English prescribing that has been dispensed in Wales, Scotland, Guernsey / Alderney, Jersey and Isle of Man is also included. The Data excludes: • Items not dispensed, disallowed and those returned to the contractor for further clarification. • Prescriptions prescribed and dispensed in Prisons, Hospitals and Private prescriptions. • Items prescribed but not presented for dispensing or not submitted to NHS Prescription Services by the dispenser. Time period Monthly data - April 2016 to March 2021

This dataset

The data provided is for items dispensed by Distance Selling Pharmacies in England regardless of where they were prescribed.

Items shows the number of times a product appears on a prescription form not the quantity prescribed.

If you have any queries regarding the data provided, or if you plan on publishing the data, please contact ensuring you quote the above reference. This is important to ensure that the figures are not misunderstood or misrepresented.

If you plan on producing a press or broadcast story based upon the data please contact This is important to ensure that the figures are not misunderstood or misrepresented.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and is subject to NHSBSA copyright. This information is licenced under the terms of the Open Government Licence detailed at:

Should you wish to re-use the information you must include the following statement: “ePACT2, NHSBSA Copyright 2022” This information is licenced under the terms of the Open Government Licence:

Failure to do so is a breach of the terms of the licence.

Information you receive which is not subject to NHSBSA Copyright continues to be protected by the copyright of the person, or organisation, from which the information originated.

Please obtain their permission before reproducing any third party (non NHSBSA Copyright) information.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Contact Information Governance
Version 1.0
State active
Last Updated February 14, 2022, 16:01 (UTC)
Created February 14, 2022, 15:59 (UTC)