HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 27 May 2016


26 May 2016, Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis


Pharmacy Biz reports that Martin Sawer, Executive Director of the HDA, said Brexit could result in exacerbated medicine shortages as well as extra costs of regulations that could be added over time to the NHS bill. He also predicted that negotiations to leave the EU could take a significant number of years, during which time members of the Association could face uncertainty on the supply front. Martin Sawer concluded the resilience and economic scale wholesalers and distributors benefit from being in the EU could be affected if the UK votes to leave.


Hub and spoke dispensing plans condemned for lack of evidence

26 May 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal, Debbie Andalo


Pharmacy organisations have condemned Government plans to expand hub and spoke dispensing because of a lack of evidence that it will bring the benefits the minister expects. Pharmacy Voice shared its “significant concerns” about the proposal with chief executive Rob Darracott stating: ““It is a flawed assumption that hub and spoke dispensing must be more efficient, cost saving or safer and we do not recognise the validity of the assumptions which are proposed to form the basis of the impact assessment.” Similar concerns are shared by other pharmacy bodies including Numark, The Royal Pharmaceutical Society and The National Pharmacy Association.


Pharmacy minister, Alistair Burt, has backtracked on his prediction that up to 3,000 pharmacies could close as a result of the planned funding cuts. The full story was reported by C&D and Pharmacy Biz.


Dypiridamole 200mg/5ml oral suspension deleted from Part VIIIB of June Drug Tariff

26 May 2016, PSNC


Effective from 1st June 2016, Dypiridamole 200mg/5ml oral suspension has been deleted from Part VIIIB of the Drug Tariff. This is because a licenced alternative, Dypiridamole 200mg/5ml oral suspension sugar free, is now available and has been added to Part VIIIA of in June’s tariff.


Changes to the Drug Tariff impact on reimbursement so it’s important to take note when amendments are made to product listings.


Pharmacy staff are advised to take care in ensuring that any prescriptions dispensed in May are submitted for payment no later than the 5th June 2016 as per the rule for ‘Claims for Payment’ under Clause 5 of the tariff. Please note that if prescriptions were inadvertently submitted with your June bundle you would be reimbursed as per the June listing in Part VIIIA.


A full list of products and new reimbursement prices for Part VIIIB lines can be found on the NHSBSA website.


2016/17 Flu Plan published

26 May 2016, PSNC


Details have today been published outlining the influenza vaccination programme for winter 2016/17. The plan – published by the Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England –  sets out a coordinated and evidence-based approach to planning for, and responding to, the demands of influenza across England.


The only change this year is the addition of the offer of the flu vaccination to children of school year 3. Also, as in previous years, there is an expectation for all frontline health workers to be offered flu vaccination by their employer.


A supporting letter for healthcare professionals, issued in conjunction with the Flu Plan, has also been published.


Flu plan: winter 2016 to 2017 (including the annual flu letter)


Parliamentary Coverage


There is no Parliamentary coverage today.


Full Coverage


26 May 2016, Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis


Martin Sawer, the executive director at the Healthcare Distribution Association, has warned that medicines shortages will become “much more acute” in the UK if it votes to leave the European Union.


As a June 23 referendum on the issue looms both remain and Brexit camps continue to boisterously make their cases.


The pharmacy industry is concerned that leaving the EU will inflate the manufacturing costs of generic medicines and deter pharmaceutical companies from investing in research and development in the UK.


Sawer (pictured) said opting for Brexit would hinder the supply of medicines into the UK and exacerbate the drugs shortages community pharmacists in the UK have contended with for several years.


“Supply shortage issues could become much more acute if the UK was to leave the EU, because the UK is, and always has been, a net parallel importer of medicines from the EU, providing medicines at short notice and at a reduced cost,” he told Pharmacy Business.


“The UK imports more medicines than any other EU country except for Germany. If we look across the pond at the United States, where parallel trade is not allowed, we can see shortages and sudden price hikes proliferating at times.


“We might expect the negotiations for Britain to leave the EU to take a significant number of years, during which time our Association member companies could face uncertainty on the supply front.


“Moreover, as the pharmaceutical supply chain is increasingly global, the less the number of differentiating markets, the better for patients. Many of our members source vital medicines from the EU for UK patients and it is made much easier by only having to comply with one over-arching set of European laws on Good Distribution Practice (GDP).


“Imagine the extra costs of regulation that could be added over time to the NHS drugs bill if there were different regulations in the UK, as compared with the EU in 10 or 20 years’ time. Regulators wherever they are, will want to add regulations over time, and if we leave the EU, the UK could expect to steadily get out of step.”


When asked what other impact Brexit might have on the UK pharmaceutical industry, Sawer said: “Our wholesalers and distributors benefit from being part of the EU to ensure a resilient UK supply chain, with direct access and leverage in the global market in generics.


“This resilience and economic scale could be affected in the medium to long term if the UK votes to leave. The NHS and UK patients could, in turn, be affected.”


Hub and spoke dispensing plans condemned for lack of evidence

26 May 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal, Debbie Andalo


Government plans to expand hub and spoke dispensing across community pharmacies in the UK have been condemned by pharmacy organisations because of a lack of evidence that it will bring the benefits ministers expect.


Under current legislation, only pharmacies that are part of the same business can operate hub and spoke dispensing systems. But ministers believe that changing the law to allow pharmacies that do not have existing commercial ties to operate hub and spoke systems will create a level playing field and offer the profession more choice.


Pharmacy Voice, an association of community pharmacy trade bodies, says it has “significant concerns” about the proposal, which was out for consultation until 17 May 2016, and calls on the Department of Heath to produce the evidence to support the initiative.


Its chief executive, Rob Darracott, says: “It is a flawed assumption that hub and spoke dispensing must be more efficient, cost saving or safer and we do not recognise the validity of the assumptions which are proposed to form the basis of the impact assessment. Currently there are no hub and spoke dispensing models operating across different legal entities and therefore no data that could be used to extrapolate from. If the department has such data or hypotheses we call on them to publish it without delay.”


Numark, a buying group for independent pharmacies, echoes this view, saying that government assumptions that hub and spoke systems have the potential to save money and increase efficiency “is a significant over statement given the limited amount we know about [their] use in practice”.


The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) shares similar concerns: “Most of the evidence around this type of operation is from the United States but the health system they operate under is completely different and the efficiency savings are in what the patient pays for and are not real efficiencies within the overall system,” it says in its response.


“We are not aware of any other evidence available in the world for the type of hub and spoke model proposed in this consultation (inter-organisational) and we have concerns in relation to the hub and spoke model and the impact on patient safety.”


The RPS is also worried about the clinical governance process: “Clarity is required on several issues and to ensure patient safety,” it adds.


The National Pharmacy Association, a member organisation for independent community pharmacies, warns that the expansion of hub and spoke dispensing in England could have an impact on NHS funding and health strategies across the UK if the hub and spoke crossed borders.


“In Scotland and Northern Ireland there are particularly remote areas, such as the Highlands and the Islands, which can be particularly affected by extreme weather conditions. There appears to be a lack of appreciation of how delivery of medication from a hub that is situated in another part of the country, or indeed another country, such as England, will impact on patient care. For example, turnaround times for prescriptions may be excessive,” the NPA says.


Government proposals to display the price of medicines on packaging in England, which form part of the same consultation, have also failed to win the support from the sector.


The RPS opposes the move, arguing that the job of a medicine label is to provide information to the patient about the medicine. “We agree with the intent to make sure people take their medicines as prescribed and reduce medicines waste, however, this area is complex; people don’t take their medicines for many different reasons,” its response says. “Having the cost on labels could potentially have several different outcomes.”


Before any changes are made, the Society says the government should gather evidence to support its assumptions that displaying prices would help reduce medicines waste and encourage patients to take their medicines as prescribed.


Pharmacy Voice believes the move could compromise patient safety and discourage patients from taking their medicines properly.


“We do not believe there is substantiated evidence from the UK that it will improve quality or efficiency, or indeed have the effect the Secretary of State wants, which is to remind people that NHS services, including items which may be free at the point of use, are funded by taxpayers,” Darracott says.


The consultation ran from 22 March 2016 until 17 May 2016 and will require changes to be made to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 and the Medicines Act 1968, which apply across the UK. However, it would be up to the UK’s devolved countries to decide whether to implement the changes the new legislation would allow.

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 27 May 2016

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