The government has lowered the trigger point at which stocks of generic drugs are considered so low that pharmacists can supply branded alternatives instead. The 'category D' listing previously came into operation when there was less than four weeks' supply. But in an attempt to combat a shortage of generic drugs and price hikes, pharmacists' leaders have agreed that this should be cut to two weeks. The Prescription Pricing Authority is still negotiating with the NHS Executive about wiping out a seven-week prescription backlog triggered by a massive increase in the number of drugs going into category D. Managers have warned that wiping out the backlog would cause serious problems for monitoring and control.