News

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 1 July 2016

Government and PSNC must reach a settlement on pharmacy contract, say MPs

30 June 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal

 

The All Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) stated the government and PSNC must reach a settlement on the community pharmacy contractual framework. This recommendation is part of a report looking at the role of primary and community care within the NHS Five Year Forward View. Sir Kevin Barron explained that the government and the sector ought to agree on a common way forward to ultimately achieve better patient care.

 

The Support Your Local Pharmacy petition launched against the announced cuts to the sector funding has now reached 2 million signatures.  The news was reported by The Pharmaceutical Journal and Pharmacy Business.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons Questions, Drugs: Prices, 30 June 2016

 

Keith Vaz, MP: What measures are in place to regulate the prices of everyday drugs sold to the NHS by pharmaceutical companies.

 

Department of Health

 

George Freeman, MP: There are arrangements in place to ensure that the prices paid by the National Health Service for medicines provide value for money for the NHS. The prices and the profits made on the sales of branded medicines to the NHS are controlled by the voluntary Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme. If a company chooses not to join the voluntary scheme, it falls under a statutory scheme which controls the prices of branded medicines.

 

The Department does not control the price of generic medicines; instead it relies on competition to drive down prices. A report in 2010 by the National Audit Office showed that the reimbursement arrangements had delivered savings for the NHS of £1.8 billion between 2005/6 and 2008/09.

 

Concerns about possible anti-competitive behaviour by pharmaceutical companies are investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The Department and the CMA work closely together on such matters. The CMA is committed to investigating suspected infringements of competition law, including suspected excessive pricing in the pharmaceutical sector. The CMA has strong powers of investigation and, where it finds that a firm has breached competition law, it may impose penalties of up to 10% of a company’s worldwide turnover.

 

The CMA has been asked by the Secretary of State to undertake further work to look into specific instances of excessive pricing.

 

Full Coverage

Government and PSNC must reach a settlement on pharmacy contract, say MPs

30 June 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal

 

The All Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) says the government and Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) must reach a settlement on the community pharmacy contractual framework, warning that an imposed contract could hamper the development of the sector.

 

The APPG recommendation is part of a report on its inquiry into primary and community care, launched in October 2015, which set out to understand the role of community pharmacy within the NHS Five Year Forward View.

 

Sir Kevin Barron, chair of the APPG, says: “Our inquiry found that there is a gulf between government and community pharmacy on their plans for the sector. Both sides, ultimately, want better care for patients. That is best achieved by agreeing a common way forward, saving us from an acrimonious contract imposition.”

 

The report sets out recommendations for the future of community pharmacy, but the APPG cautions that without agreement from the government, as well as an unclear picture of future funding, pharmacies may be held back from making progress.

 

“We know as long as uncertainty hangs over the sector, we’ll see less investment in patient care. Only if both sides strike a deal can we avoid the dangerous distraction of contract imposition,” Barron adds.

 

The report advocates a clinically focused community pharmacy service that can help relieve pressure on hospital emergency departments and GP practices. It includes several recommendations for how this can be achieved, including a focus on investment in technology, developing professionalism and integrating pharmacy into primary care.

 

It says that dispensing is still the core service of community pharmacy, but should be harnessed more frequently as an opportunity for other health interventions. The report says that progress to this end has been too slow and the funding model for community pharmacy needs to incentivise service delivery rather than dispensing. It says the proposals put forward by the Department of Health in December 2015 to introduce a single activity fee for each prescription does the opposite.

 

The report also calls on the government to address concerns that funding cuts will result in pharmacy closures.

 

The PSNC has also submitted a set of counterproposals to the Department of Health and NHS England, which it says would achieve the government’s intended savings without cutting community pharmacy services. The APPG says that these deserve a detailed response.

 

Petition against pharmacy cuts reaches 2 million signatures

30 June 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal

 

A further 200,000 Support Your Local Pharmacy petition signatures were sent to the government on 30 June 2016, bringing the total to more than 2 million.

 

In a covering letter to prime minister David Cameron, Ian Strachan, chair of the National Pharmacy Association, which is leading the campaign, urges the government to reconsider the Department of Health’s proposals to cut funding to the pharmacy contract, which could lead to the closure of 3,000 pharmacies.

 

The government is due to report back to parliament in July 2016 following a consultation on the proposals.

 

The letter, also signed by Sue Sharpe, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, and Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, says: “Decisions taken in the next few weeks could have irreversible consequences for patients and communities up and down the country.

 

“The current circumstances within government provide an opportunity to reconsider these proposals to ensure that your ministers do not set in motion a chain of events leading to the closure of community pharmacies up and down the country,” it adds.

 

The pharmacy leaders also say that the proposals, which include an increased use of technology for remote medicines supply, would mean growing numbers of people obtaining medicines without seeing a pharmacist face to face. They say this would undermine the role pharmacists play in ensuring patients get the best from their medicines and ensuring the value of the NHS’ investment in those medicines.

 

The trio previously wrote to David Cameron on 24 May 2016 when the Department of Health consultation closed, at which time the petition – which calls on the government to “abandon plans that put pharmacy services at risk” – had around 1.8 million signatures. They say it is the largest healthcare petition in UK history.

 

PHARMACY PETITION AGAINST CUTS HITS 2 MILLION SIGNATURES

30 June 2016, Pharmacy Business, Neil Trainis

 

Community pharmacy’s campaign to persuade a government shrouded in uncertainty and riven by divisions post-Brexit to reconsider its plan to cut pharmacy funding intensifies today with the delivery of another 200,000 signatures to its petition at Downing Street.

 

The Support Your Local Pharmacy campaign which achieved 1.8 million signatures before being handed to outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron at Number 10 last month gains fresh momentum at a time when the government is at a crossroads and the identity of the UK’s new leader unclear.

 

The latest signatories takes the number of signatures to two million and heaps more pressure on ministers to rethink plans to cut pharmacy’s 2016-17 budget by £170 million and encourage hub and spoke dispensing and the online supply of medicines.

 

In a letter to Cameron, pharmacy letters warn: “Decisions taken in the next few weeks could have irreversible consequences for patients and communities up and down the country. The current circumstances within government provide an opportunity to reconsider (Department of Health) proposals, to ensure that your ministers do not set into motion a chain of events leading to the closure of community pharmacies up and down the country.”

 

The petition reads: “We, the undersigned, believe that local pharmacies are a vital front-line health service and part of the fabric of communities across England.

 

“Under new government proposals, many pharmacies could be forced to close, depriving people of accessible medicines advice and other valuable support from trusted professionals.

 

“It would also put more pressure on GPs and hospital services. In the interests of patient care, we urge the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary to abandon plans that put pharmacy services at risk.”

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 1 July 2016

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