21 Oct 2011

No appeal against ruling on drug recall costs

10:18 pm on 21 October 2011

GlaxoSmithKline has decided not to appeal against a court ruling which found it must pay a South Auckland pharmacy for costs incurred during a drug recall.

Ian Johnson invoiced GlaxoSmithKline following a nationwide urgent recall of the drug marevan, commonly known as warfarin, in January last year.

The drug company refused to pay, but a judge ruled earlier this month that the pharmacy should be compensated at a rate of $40 per hour.

Mr Johnson says the case gives the sector confidence that they have the right to charge for reasonable costs associated with recalls.

Chief executive of the Pharmacy Guild Annabel Young says she would expect GlaxoSmithKline to provide compensation to other pharmacies, given the amount of work involved in recalls.

"There were about five recalls that year where pharmacies were asked to ring every patient on a particular medicine - that's an incredibly expensive thing and very disruptive in the pharmacy practice."

Ms Young says pharmacists will now understand that they can and should put in invoices for the work they did.

She hopes the Ministry of Health will now design a better process for drug recalls that doesn't rely on pharmacists providing their services for free.