HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 21 September 2016
|UK Government to revise drug price scheme
20 September 2016, Pharmaphorum, Richard Stains
The Government has announced that it wants further control over drug pricing in companies not signed up to the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS). The Department of Health has reported that major savings are being missed because companies have signed up to the Statutory Scheme instead. The Government is proposing to replace a 15% discount, applied to all medicines sold to the NHS, with a repayment of 10-17% of sales in the Statutory Scheme. Leslie Galloway, Chairman of the Ethical Medicines Industry Group, is concerned about the impact this proposal will have on the pharmaceutical industry.
Wholesalers on track to complete flu deliveries in two weeks
Two of Britain’s largest wholesalers have begun distributing stocks of flu vaccines despite worries from pharmacists that they would see a 2 week delay in delivery. Martin Sawer, Executive Director of wholesaler body the Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA) has confirmed that deliveries began at the end of August. However confirmed that the final round of deliveries are due to arrive at pharmacies across the country over the next two weeks.
There is no parliamentary coverage today.
|UK government to revise drug price scheme
20 September 2016, Pharmaphorum, Richard Stains
The UK government is pushing on with proposals that aim to limit profits from companies operating outside the main pharma pricing scheme.
Most pharma companies have signed up to the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), where industry reimburses the government if drug spend exceeds pre-agreed thresholds.
But in a consultation the government said that it wanted further control over prices from companies that choose to stay outside the PPRS, and are instead signed up to the so-called Statutory Scheme.
In the consultation response, the Department of Health said a total of £157 million in savings have been lost because some companies had instead opted to join the Statutory Scheme.
The government has opted to replace a 15% discount, applied to all medicines sold to the National Health Service, with a repayment percentage of 10-17% of sales.
This applies to all medicines in the Statutory Scheme on sale on 1 December 2013, and all drugs on the scheme launched since then.
The consultation document, perhaps unsurprisingly, showed National Health Service organisations under intense pressure to make savings are in favour of the proposals.
However the government also noted that the changes proposed “could be viewed by global pharmaceutical boards as creating an unsettled market.”
One of the most notable companies on the Statutory Scheme is Gilead, whose hepatitis C and HIV treatments represent a high percentage of the NHS’s specialised medicines budget. The government wants to claw back as many savings from Gilead and other companies on the scheme as possible, and doesn’t want the Statutory Scheme to be a more attractive option than the main PPRS agreement.
Industry also suggested the government does not have the power in domestic legislation to implement the preferred option, saying it amounted to a “sales tax”, according to the consultation summary.
The government is also not yet clear on how the repayments will be calculated and the payment mechanism involved.
Some responses suggested the proposals were in conflict with European legislation, including the Transparency Directive, governing pricing arrangements for medicines.
Leslie Galloway, chairman of the Ethical Medicines Industry Group representing small and medium-sized pharma, was concerned about the impact of the proposals on the pharma industry.
He told pharmaphorum that the proposals “send the wrong messages to global pharmaceutical leaders about investing in our country.”
Chemist &Druggist, Beth Kennedy
Britain’s two largest wholesalers have started distributing stocks of flu vaccines, C+D has learned.
Alliance Healthcare and AAH Pharmaceuticals told C+D last week that they already held the stock in their warehouses, and had started distributing it to contractors.
Pharmacies in England were given the legal go-ahead to roll out this year’s flu service on September 1. However, Nat Mitchell, pharmacist and director at JWW Allison & Sons in Cockermouth, Cumbria took to Twitter to report he had been warned to expect a two-week wait before receiving his vaccines.
Mr Mitchell told C+D that he expected his deliveries of the vaccine by September 14 at the earliest – despite ordering from three different wholesalers.
Martin Sawer, Executive Director of wholesaler body the Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA) said delivery of contractors’ orders began at the end of last month. However, both the HDA and Alliance Healthcare confirmed that some “final deliveries” of vaccines are due to arrive in pharmacies over the next two weeks.
Pre-orders going well
Pharmacy London chief executive Rekha Shah said Alliance’s daily orders of the Pfizer vaccine and pre-orders of “another brand” had helped many pharmacies in the capital begin rolling out the flu service early on launch day.
Alliance said orders for the vaccine are “broadly in line [or] slightly higher” than last year – when pharmacists in England delivered almost 600,000 jabs, despite paperwork delays meaning the service was launched two weeks behind schedule.
David Powick, proposition manager at AAH Pharmaceuticals, told C+D communicating with the Department of Health about the service had been “simpler” the second time around because the wholesaler knew “what to expect and when to expect it”.
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