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HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 18 August 2016

NHS CANCER PATIENTS MISSING OUT ON NEW TREATMENTS CLAIMS REPORT

17 August 2016, Pharmacy Biz

 

Pharmacy Biz explains that a new report published by Breast Cancer Now and Prostate Cancer UK claims that patients in the UK can’t access new cancer treatments available in other countries because the UK’s appraisal systems lack the opportunity to negotiate on drug prices. In non-UK countries, the body responsible for assessing the clinical effectiveness of a treatment is separate from the one deciding its cost effectiveness, meaning more flexibility to negotiate drug prices.

 

Readers split over scrapping pharmacy repeat prescriptions

17 August 2016, C&D, James Waldron

 

A poll commissioned by Chemist and Druggist shows that readers are split over plans to scrape pharmacy repeat prescriptions in order to prevent medicines going to waste. Some pharmacists called for a wider rollout while others called it a “step backward”. Overall. 63% of participants agreed that pharmacies should be prevented from ordering repeat prescriptions.

 

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NHS CANCER PATIENTS MISSING OUT ON NEW TREATMENTS CLAIMS REPORT

17 August 2016, Pharmacy Biz

 

CANCER charities claim thousands of NHS patients are being denied access to new cancer treatments available in other countries because UK appraisal systems lack the opportunity to negotiate on drug prices.

 

A new report published by Breast Cancer Now and Prostate Cancer UK investigated the availability of breast and prostate cancer treatments in England, Wales and Scotland compared to five countries of similar wealth, including Australia and Germany.

 

In its research, the charities analysed the role health technology assessment (HTA) bodies, such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in England and the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), played in approving new cancer drugs.

 

They found that in non-UK countries, one HTA body is responsible for assessing the clinical effectiveness of a drug, while another was responsible for deciding its cost effectiveness.

 

However, it added that NICE and SMC had responsibility for both of these functions, meaning they lacked the flexibility to negotiate on drug prices.

 

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, said “Pharmaceutical companies must indeed start offering more responsible prices.

 

“But until our health bodies are empowered to negotiate the price of cancer drugs, patients in the UK will continue to miss out on new treatments being offered elsewhere.”

 

In addition, the report highlighted one drug, Kadcyla – which can offer women living with incurable secondary breast cancer an extra six months of life on average – was launched two and a half years ago and is available in France, Canada and Germany, but was only available in England through the Cancer Drugs Fund and is not available at all in Scotland and Wales.

 

Heather Blake, director of support and influencing at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Leaving patients with this uncertainty is unacceptable.

 

“That’s why action is needed to enable industry to negotiate new pricing models, and to give more weight to patient evidence so that the next generation of new cancer treatments reaches those in need.”

 

Readers split over scrapping pharmacy repeat prescriptions

17 August 2016, C&D, James Waldron

 

C+D readers are split over whether a scheme to prevent pharmacies from ordering repeat prescriptions should be rolled out across the country.

Three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in the north west of England and East Anglia have implemented schemes to stop pharmacies from reordering prescriptions – with the hopes of saving the NHS around £10 million a year in wasted medicines, C+D reported on Monday (August 15).

 

Pharmacists commenting on the C+D website were divided between those who hoped for a wider rollout of the scheme across the UK and those who branded it a “step backward”.

 

“No prescription without request”

 

Community pharmacist Michael Franks agreed with the CCGs that “no prescription should be requested without the patient requesting it”. “I ask the patient to contact us seven days before the script is due,” he said.

 

Pharmacist Reeyah H said they are “100% for” nationwide rollout of the scheme. “[I’m] sick and tired of moaning patients who have become so lazy, and the workload for staff,” they wrote.

 

A community pharmacist posting as Barry Pharmacist praised the CCGs’ decision as “the end of the line for unscrupulous individuals that drag us down”.

 

“If it applies to everyone, and is not manipulated by GPs with a commercial interest in a particular pharmacy, then let it be,” he posted.

 

Community pharmacist Kalpesh Shah said he “completely” agrees with the scheme, which would affect multiples used to “asking patients to repeat their medicines every month”.

 

However, he questioned who will “pick up the slack” of the extra prescription requests currently handled by pharmacies. “Surgeries up and down the country have got used to pharmacies dealing their repeats and most do not have staff in place to deal with extra prescription requests,” he posted.

 

“Totally against the idea”

 

Other readers were more vocal in their concerns. Dispensing assistant Sam Isted said his pharmacy had already tried to “implement this change” and he is “totally against the idea”.

 

“I work in an area where roughly 80% of the population are elderly patients who do not have access to the internet or are unable to get to the surgery,” he posted. “Surely patient safety should come [before] any money saving scheme?”

 

A community pharmacist posting as R Patel said the scheme was going to be “such a disaster for some independent pharmacies, as “the [GP practice] pharmacies in these pilot areas will pick up all the scripts”.

 

“Yet again, bad practices by some pharmacies – mainly the big multiples and large groups – have created this problem,” they added.

 

Pharmacy staff member Robert Miller labelled the scheme a “step backwards”. “The present arrangements [are] working well. This change will put pressure on surgeries and inconvenience patients,” he wrote.

 

Locum pharmacist Hadi Al-Bayati said he “agreed that more [responsibility] should be put on the patient”, but added that he is “curious what [a] surgery’s policy will be if you can’t get there to order [the medicine] and don’t have a computer”.

 

He questioned whether GP practices would be forced to “staff a prescription ordering service” to deal with the extra demand.

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 18 August 2016

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