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HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 27 April 2016

Network set up to study drug shortages across Europe

26 April 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal

 

The European Union has launched a European Medicines Shortages Research Network to look at the causes of medicines shortages and their impact on patients. The Network aims to develop a set of principles that can be adopted across the EU to prevent shortages. Eighteen EU countries have so far signed up to the four-year programme.

 

Chemist and Druggist and The Pharmaceutical Journal report on the publication of a counter proposal by PSNC to the UK Government’s plan for the future of community pharmacy. This proposal offers recommendations for cost-saving measures rather than a funding cut.

 

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Network set up to study drug shortages across Europe

26 April 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal

 

The European Union has launched a European Medicines Shortages Research Network to look at the causes of medicines shortages and their impact on patients.

 

Eighteen EU countries have signed up so far to the four-year programme, an initiative of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (CoST), which supports cooperation among researchers across Europe. More are expected to join and non-EU countries are able to attend meetings as observers.

 

The research network will explore the reasons for drug shortages in both primary and secondary care, including whether countries face similar or different issues, and it will then make recommendations on how medicines shortages can be prevented or minimised. The ultimate aim is to develop a set of principles that can be adopted across the EU.

 

Working groups have been set up to address a number of areas: the landscape of medicines shortages; manufacturing-related shortages; logistics-related shortages; therapeutic options and substitutions; and the impact of shortages on outcomes.

 

David Stead, former specialist procurement pharmacist at NHS South West, is chairing the logistics working group, supported by another UK representative Jane Nicholson, executive director of the European Industrial Pharmacists Group.

 

Stead said European countries procure medicines in different ways, so the initial focus will be on understanding the mechanisms in each country, so “we can identify whether the way that medicines are provided and procured actually creates problems”. Then the group will look at evidence based practice to make recommendations on how to prevent or minimise distribution problems and improve the clinical management of shortages.

 

The network is chaired by Helena Jenzer from the University of Bern, Switzerland, with Roberto Frontini, president of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP), as deputy chair.

 

 

Community pharmacists should be able to substitute cheaper drugs, says PSNC in proposals to counter government cuts

26 April 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal

 

Giving community pharmacists more power to dispense cheaper generic alternatives to branded medicines or cheaper drugs of greater therapeutic benefit could save the NHS millions of pounds and prevent the need for planned government cuts of £170m from the community pharmacy budget in England, according to national negotiators.

 

Allowing pharmacists to dispense urgent medicine supplies routinely to patients out of hours without the need for a prescription from a GP, or following a pharmacy referral via the NHS 111 service, could also save money and offset the proposed cuts for 2016 and beyond, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) is suggesting.

 

The negotiators have released a list of counter proposals, which they claim would meet the government budget cuts that are now at the centre of their confidential negotiations with ministers.

 

The PSNC’s counter proposals include a move to reduce medicines waste where pharmacists would not dispense repeat prescriptions for medicines or appliances to patients in cases where, following discussion, both sides agreed that they already had sufficient current stocks of drugs or other medical products.

 

A national therapeutic substitution service linked to a specific list of medicines with options for cheaper and more clinically effective alternative products is also being discussed.

 

The PSNC, in its briefing paper, says the list should also include specials where alternative licensed products could be dispensed instead.

 

A similar national list of generic alternative drugs would also be drawn up as part of the PSNC’s plans, which it says could mirror a scheme running in Ireland since 2013.

 

Other proposals include a community pharmacy-led review of prescribing in care homes.

 

The paper makes it clear that negotiators also oppose government plans to bring in a new pay system linked to a single fee for each prescription item supplied.

 

The new system, says the PSNC, is a backward step because it would incentivise pharmacists to increase medicine supplies. The negotiators suggest instead an alternative payment system that rewards pharmacies providing more clinical services.

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 27 April 2016

From Factory to Pharmacy

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