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HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 7 November 2016

Open letter warns of the Brexit effect on the UK’s medicines supply chain

04 November 2016, European Pharmaceutical Review, Niamh Louise Marriott

 

The HDA have published an open letter explaining the effect that Brexit will have on the UK’s medicines supply chain. Martin Sawer, Executive Director of the HDA, explained that the letter was written to try and protect the health sale distribution industry after Brexit by ensuring that the industries views are taken into account during the Governments policy negotiations.

 

NPA launches legal challenge against cuts

04 November 2016, P3 Pharmacy

 

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has launched a legal challenge to oppose the Department of Health’s decision to cut community pharmacy funding in England. The NPA said that it is taking legal action because the Department of Health has not taken into account the effect these cuts will have on elderly, disabled and minority communities throughout the country. Chairman of the NPA, Ian Strachan, said that the NPA is inviting the Department of Health to enter constructive discussions with the association to determine a positive way forward for both the pharmacy sector and the wider NHS.

 

This was also reported by Pharmacy Business

 

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons Questions, Drugs: Regulation, 04 November 2016

Health

 

Catherine West: What potential (a) costs and (b) regulation costs the Government anticipates for medicines manufacturers in securing separate regulatory approval for products for the UK and the EU after the UK leaves the EU.

 

Department of Health

 

David Mowat:

The Government has not made a decision on whether the United Kingdom will create a separate medicines approval regime once it leaves the European Union. As such, the Government is not in a position to speculate on licensing costs for a potential UK approvals regime.

 

Full Coverage

Open letter warns of the Brexit effect on the UK’s medicines supply chain

04 November 2016, European Pharmaceutical Review, Niamh Louise Marriott

 

Following the UK’s referendum vote to the leave the EU earlier in June, HDA, with the support of its members, have written a open letter explaining the Brexit effect on the UK’s medicines supply chain. Speaking to European Pharmaceutical Review, HDA’s Executive Director Martin Sawer explains that the letter intends to protect the health sale distribution industry by ensuring that their ‘views are taken into account’ as the UK government establishes post-Brexit policy…

 

Dear Sir,

 

We are writing to explain our view that the recent referendum vote to leave the European Union (EU) could have significant consequences for the NHS medicines supply chain in the UK, if certain key issues are not resolved during the Brexit negotiations.

 

As the trade association that represents the companies that deliver 92% of NHS medicines for patients, pharmacies, hospitals, dispensing doctors and the pharmaceutical industry, the Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK) has a number of concerns that could affect the future sustainability of medicines distribution. As a sector, we have always had the key goals of ensuring the safe, certain and efficient distribution of life-saving medicines for patients across the four countries of the United Kingdom.

 

“the ability of our companies to parallel import medicines into the UK”

 

Our principal concern regards the ability of our companies to parallel import medicines into the UK, thanks to the common trademarks system operated across the European Economic Area (EEA).

 

If the British Government is favouring a Brexit that will see the UK leave the EU Single Market and Customs Union, this could result in the loss of the common trademark regulations, meaning that UK-based medicine distributors would no longer be able to easily and swiftly import vital medicines from the rest of the EEA to service the varying needs of British patients and the NHS.

 

“an increased risk of medicines shortages in the UK”

 

There is a high probability that this could then result in an increased risk of medicines shortages in the UK and a rise in the cost of medicines for the NHS.  In short, parallel imports of medicines into the UK provide both certainty of supply, when there is not enough UK stock (because of a sudden spike in demand), and incentivised purchasing competition which saves the NHS over £100m per annum, on current estimates.

 

It is clear that pan-European legislation and regulations have an important public health role in medicines supply, which our sector supports and depends on, including the supply resilience and economic efficiencies created by the scale of the EU market.

 

“the loss of equivalence with European rules could have substantial consequences”

 

Another aspect that could impact British patients and our businesses more generally, regards the medicines licensing regime that currently allows for the common licensing of medicines across the EEA. The loss of equivalence with these European rules could have substantial consequences on the ability of pharmaceutical manufacturers to bring their products to the UK as quickly as is currently the case.

 

In fact, pharmaceutical manufacturers may choose not to market their product in the UK at all due to the associated costs and relatively small population compared to the area covered by the broader European licensing regime.

 

HDA wholesalers support manufacturers by assisting with market launches for new treatments, ensuring that they are available across the country quickly and comprehensively.

 

“the ability of British patients to gain access to the latest treatments could be delayed”

 

In summary, the ability of British patients to gain access to the latest treatments could be delayed. The UK will further lose its attractiveness for the early adoption of medicines when the European Medicines Authority (EMA) moves to another EU state, with the potential loss of ancillary pharmaceutical services.

 

“the UK will further lose its attractiveness”

 

In line with many other business sectors, we are concerned about the impact of Brexit on the ability of employers to source appropriately qualified staff. The healthcare sector, from research scientists in pharmaceutical companies, to pharmacists in hospitals and the community, benefit from skilled workers from the EU.

 

“concerned…employers [will not] source appropriately qualified staff”

 

We would not like to see Brexit negotiations ending the advantages of the appropriate freedom of workers to come to the UK.

 

It is also highly important that the UK maintains the parity of qualifications for healthcare professionals that ensures that British regulated healthcare standards are sufficiently aligned with the EU’s equivalents, enabling European health professionals to practise in UK pharmacies, hospitals and GP surgeries, with whom our businesses have long-standing business partnerships and relationships.

 

“Brexit [should not end] the appropriate freedom of workers to come to the UK”

 

We look forward to working with the Government, regulators and supply chain partners to ensure that UK patients are not negatively affected by the vote to leave the European Union.

Yours faithfully,

 

On behalf of HDA UK Council:

 

Steve Anderson, Chair, Phoenix Healthcare Distribution

Jeremy Main, Alliance Healthcare

David Bound, Celesio UK

Anup Sodha, Lexon UK

Ian Brownlee, Mawdsleys

Steve Burns, Sangers

Peter Surgenor, UnitedDrug Sangers

 

NPA launches legal challenge against cuts

04 November 2016, P3 Pharmacy

 

The National Pharmacy Association has launched a legal challenge to the Department of Health’s decision to cut community pharmacy funding in England with effect from December 1.

 

The NPA’s challenge is partly based on the Department of Health’s failure to consider the impact its cuts will have on the elderly, the disabled and people from black and minority ethnic communities, it says.

 

“Had the Department of Health properly considered the impact of its cuts, it would have realised that the cuts will have a disproportionate effect on people with legally protected characteristics and those who live in the most deprived areas of England, where there is already a lack of NHS healthcare provision,” according to the trade association.

 

Chairman of the NPA, Ian Strachan, explained: “Despite protests from patients, health care professionals, MPs and local government, ministers have so far persisted with plans for cuts that will hit the poorest communities and the most vulnerable patients hardest.

 

“We have been reasonable and measured throughout our campaign to secure a viable future for local pharmacies. It is a shame that we have been driven to a position in which we have no option but to take legal avenues. Even at this stage, we invite the Department of Health to step back from the precipice and enter into constructive discussions about a positive way forward for the sector and the NHS.”

 

Andrea James, a partner at LHS Solicitors who acts on behalf of the NPA, said: “This is a significant challenge to the Department of Health, which has failed to carry out any effective equality impact assessment to understand the effect of its illogical cuts on patients and community pharmacies. The NPA is bringing this challenge to protect some of the most deprived communities across England and the dedicated pharmacists who serve them”.

 

Other legal actions by different organisations are also currently being considered, Pharmacy Magazine understands.

 

NPA LAUNCH LEGAL ACTION AGAINST GOVERNMENT OVER FUNDING CUTS

04 November 2016, Pharmacy Business, Neil Trainis

 

The National Pharmacy Association has started legal proceedings against the government over its cuts to community pharmacy funding.

 

Legal action has been brought because of what the NPA regards as ministers’ failure to adequately consider the impact of the cuts on local populations, particularly the elderly, disabled and people from black and ethnic minorities.

 

“Had the Department of Health properly considered the impact of its cuts, it would have realised that the cuts will have a disproportionate effect on people with legally protected characteristics and those who live in the most deprived areas of England, where there is already a lack of NHS healthcare provision,” the NPA said.

 

The government’s impact assessment, published last month, was heavily criticised by Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott and the NPA have decided to take the matter further. The PSNC ruled out legal action but the NPA has not.

 

“Despite protests from patients, health care professionals, MPs and local government, ministers have so far persisted with plans for cuts that will hit the poorest communities and the most vulnerable patients hardest,” said NPA chairmen Ian Strachan.

 

“We have been reasonable and measured throughout our campaign to secure a viable future for local pharmacies. It is a shame that we have been driven to a position in which we have no option but to take legal avenues.

 

“Even at this stage, we invite the Department of Health to step back from the precipice and enter into constructive discussions about a positive way forward for the sector and the NHS.”

 

Andrea James, a Partner at LHS Solicitors acting on behalf of the NPA, said: “This is a significant challenge to the Department of Health which has failed to carry out any effective Equality Impact Assessment to understand the effect of its illogical cuts on patients and community pharmacies.

 

“The NPA is bringing this challenge to protect some of the most deprived communities across England and the dedicated pharmacists who serve them.”

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 7 November 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.

See the Infographic

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