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HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 20 June 2016

Brexit could cause drug shortages – wholesalers

17 June 2016, pharmaphorum, Richard Staines

 

Pharmaphorum explains that the HDA, as part of its Annual Conference newsletter, stated a ‘Brexit’ could compromise the UK’s supply of medicines, drive up prices, and result in shortages becoming much more acute. It added that the industry was regulated by a one over-arching set of laws on Good Distribution Practice, a ‘Leave’ vote would mean the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority would become solely responsible for regulating the UK. Pharmaphorum noted that the HDA did not explicitly express support for the ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ campaign.

 

NHS England may be thinking of decommissioning MURs and new medicine service, PSNC fears

17 June 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal, Elizabeth Zukkar

 

The Pharmaceutical Journal reports on Alastair Buxton, director of NHS Services at PSNC, expressing his concerns that findings of a review into clinical pharmacy services may be used to decommission the medicines use review (MUR) service. A PSNC spokesperson commented that while this is their concern, “we don’t know if that is the government’s intention”. Buxton added that pharmacy was “fantastically” efficient, although the Department of Health thought it could be more so.

 

UK pharma contributes £1.3bn to NHS meds bill

20 June 2016, Pharma Times, Selina McKee

 

Pharma Times reports that the UK pharmaceutical industry has now contributed £1.3 billion to underwrite growth in the NHS medicines bill, but overall spend remains flat. Companies who are voluntarily signed up to the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) have handed over £367 million between September 2015 and March 2016, taking total payments to £1.296 billion.

 

The full details of payment to the Department of Health (DH) under the five-year Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) published by the ABPI are available here.

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Brexit could cause drug shortages – wholesalers

17 June 2016, pharmaphorum, Richard Staines

 

A “Brexit” could compromise the UK’s supply of medicines and drive up prices, according to pharma wholesalers.

 

The Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK) said in its conference newsletter that proposals by many supporters of the ‘Leave’ campaign to opt out of the EU single market would cut off the supply of parallel imports of medicines.

 

Shortages could “become much more acute” if the UK leaves the EU. As it is, the country has always been a net importer of medicines from the EU.

 

This legal parallel trade provides medicines “at short notice and at a reduced cost”, HDA UK said.

 

Many wholesalers source medicines from the EU and this process is made much easier by one over-arching set of laws on Good Distribution Practice.

 

HDA UK said that leaving the EU, and having another set of GDP regulations for the UK, would drive up prices.

 

“The cost implications could be significant if the UK was to have a different set of regulations to the rest of the EU,” HDA UK said.

 

The pharma supply chain is largely regulated by the EU and a ‘Leave’ vote would mean the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority would become solely responsible for regulating the UK.

 

However HDA UK did not explicitly say whether it supported the ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’ campaign.

 

Pharma and biotech trade bodies and companies have backed the ‘Remain’ campaign, arguing that a Brexit would dismantle regulatory arrangements, and that the increased costs would discourage pharma from investing in the UK.

 

NHS England may be thinking of decommissioning MURs and new medicine service, PSNC fears

17 June 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal, Elizabeth Zukkar

 

Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at the PSNC, told the HDA conference he has concerns that a review into clinical pharmacy could lead to services being cut.

 

Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at the PSNC, told the HDA conference that the PSNC has concerns that services could be cut after a review into clinical pharmacy

 

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has expressed concerns that the findings of a review into clinical pharmacy services may be used to decommission the medicines use review (MUR) service.

 

Speaking at the Healthcare Distribution Association’s (HDA) annual conference on 16 June 2016 in London, Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at the PSNC, said he was concerned about the “direction of travel” of the review. He said the PSNC, which negotiates the community pharmacy contract with the government, was worried that the review was about “getting rid” of MURs and the new medicine service (NMS).

 

After the conference, a PSNC spokesperson added that while this is their concern, “we don’t know if that is the government’s intention”.

 

The MUR service has had some bad press recently after The Guardian ran a story in April 2016 alleging that Boots was putting pressure on pharmacists to undertake unnecessary MURs. The Pharmaceutical Journal also reported on concerns about pressures placed on pharmacists to undertake MURs in 2013.

 

Gordon Hockey, a barrister who works for the PSNC, says the PSNC was worried the review was only looking at MURs, and not other locally commissioned services, such as emergency hormonal contraception services. “If you want to look at clinical services, you need to look at the full package. The PSNC has suspicions that the review will knock MURs,” says Hockey.

 

The independent review of community pharmacy services was commissioned by NHS England to make recommendations for future commissioning models for community pharmacy and the pharmacy workforce. It is being led by Richard Murray, director of policy for the King’s Fund, and is expected to be completed by October 2016.

 

When asked whether the review was looking into removing MURs or NMS services, Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer, said: “This review will provide one additional source of information on how clinical services provided by pharmacy teams could be redesigned to bring these teams even closer to patients and to the heart of the NHS. This work is one contribution to broader action to help modernise NHS pharmacy services, and to meet the changing shape and demands of healthcare.”

 

According to NHS England, the main areas for consideration in the review will be: meeting the changing healthcare needs of an ageing population; ensuring patients receive the best outcomes from medicines; and integrating community pharmacy into emerging new models of care as the NHS implements its ‘Five year forward view’. The review will also look closely at the barriers that prevent the best use of pharmacy team skills in the care of patients with acute and long-term conditions, it adds.

 

Speaking on the pharmacy cuts announced in December 2015, Buxton told the conference that pharmacy was “fantastically” efficient, although the Department of Health thought it could be more so.

 

He recognised that there were clusters of pharmacies, especially so after the deregulation of the market in 2005, but predicted that the government would defend itself by saying that another government was in power then.

 

Clusters of pharmacies in large population areas are hard to defend because they do exist, said Buxton, but clustering is not wrong since many community pharmacies deliver services based on patient needs.

 

UK pharma contributes £1.3bn to NHS meds bill

20 June 2016, Pharma Times, Selina McKee

 

The UK pharmaceutical industry has now contributed £1.3 billion to underwrite growth in the NHS medicines bill, but overall spend remains flat.

 

Companies who are voluntarily signed up to the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) have handed over £367 million between September 2015 and March 2016, taking total payments to £1.296 billion.

 

Under the 2014 PPRS, the industry agreed to pay a rebate when NHS spend on branded medicines exceeds pre-agreed growth rates, to help support use of innovative new treatments at minimal cost.

 

But despite this industry funding, NHS spend on branded medicines covered under the scheme has remained flat over the six-month period, as new medicines approved as clinically and cost effective by NICE are not always adopted by the NHS locally.

 

“Medicines spend under the PPRS is lower than anticipated when the scheme began, however the scheme remains important overall in helping the Department of Health and the NHS budget for medicines,” noted David Watson, Director of Pricing and PPRS at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 20 June 2016

From Factory to Pharmacy

As part of our mission to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of the healthcare distribution sector, we developed an infographic explaining the availability of medicines. It identifies the factors that can impact drug supply, as well as the measures that HDA members undertake day in, day out to help mitigate the risks of patients not receiving their medicines.

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