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HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 9 November 2016

ABPI welcomes investigation into ‘excessive’ NHS drug prices

08 November 2016, Chemist & Druggist, Vincent Forrester

 

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has said it condemns large price rises by some companies and it supports the Government in questioning these prices. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has confirmed it is investigating some companies under suspicion of unfair pricing of drugs which have been sold to the NHS. The CMA has said it will decide by the end of February 2017 whether to procced with, or close its investigation of these companies.

 

New public health bill for Wales revisits pharmaceutical needs assessments

08 November 2016, Pharmaceutical Journal

 

The Welsh Government has proposed a new Public Health Bill which will require health boards across the country to produce Pharmaceutical Needs Assessments (PNAs). The Bill would mean that NHS dispensing contracts would have to take into account an assessment of pharmaceutical need. This Bill proposes a similar system to one already operating in England. Legislation for the introduction of PNAs in Wales was originally rejected by the Welsh Assembly in March 2016.

APPG to examine integration and access schemes in cuts investigation
08 November 2016, Pharmacy Business, Neil Trainis

The All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) has said it will be investigating the impact that the Government’s community pharmacy funding cuts will have on pharmacies across the country. They will also be looking into how the integration and access schemes proposed by the Government will help community pharmacies.  APPG Chair Sir Kevin Barron recently pointed out that the list of pharmacies that are eligible for the Pharmacy Access Scheme payments, released by the Government, does not contain independents. The APPG has said it will hold evidence sessions inviting Department of Health officials, NHS England, representatives of the pharmacy sector and service users, among others, to give evidence.

 

This was also reported by P3 Pharmacy

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ABPI welcomes investigation into ‘excessive’ NHS drug prices

08 November 2016, Chemist & Druggist, Vincent Forrester

 

Drug manufacturers have welcomed a government investigation into “unfair” medicines prices, following a newspaper exposé.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating “companies” for “suspected unfair pricing” of drugs, including those sold to the NHS.

 

The watchdog was urged to launch an investigation by the health secretary Jeremy Hunt, following an exposé in The Times in June that accused four companies of exploiting a loophole to hike prices – for off-patent medicines such as antidepressant Sinepin and insomnia drug Welldorm – in some cases by more than 10,000%.

 

The CMA confirmed last month (October 25) that it is exploring “suspected breaches of competition law in the pharmaceutical sector”.

 

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) told C+D yesterday (November 7) that it “condemns” price rises by “some small operators”.

 

“We support the ability of [the] government to question these if they occur,” the ABPI added.

 

ABPI executive director commercial Dr Richard Torbett described attempts to hike prices in the industry as “cynical and exploitative” when The Times published its investigation in June.

 

Companies unknown

 

The CMA did not name the companies under scrutiny or make any reference to The Times article.

 

However, Concordia International Corporation released a statement on the day the CMA launched its investigation, confirming that its international arm of the business, which includes the UK market, was part of the inquiry.

 

Concordia owns AMCo, a company formed by the merger of Amdipharm and Mercury, two of the businesses that The Times alleged in June are “behind major price increases”.

 

In its statement, Concordia said: “The CMA’s investigation includes matters that pre-date Concordia’s ownership of the [international arm of the business].

 

“We are working cooperatively to better understand the CMA’s position, and will continue to work constructively to resolve the matter.”

 

The pharmaceutical company emphasised that the CMA “has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of any infringement for it to issue a statement of objections”.

 

A spokesperson for Atnahs, one of the other companies named by The Times, told C+D today (November 8) that it has not been made aware of any investigation into its conduct.

 

The fourth company named by The Times, Auden Mckenzie, is now owned by Teva, one of the largest generic drug manufacturers in the world. Teva declined to comment when approached by C+D.

 

The CMA said it will decide in February 2017 whether or not to proceed with, or close, its investigation. Not all cases result in an infringement of the law, the CMA said.

 

The watchdog has the power to fine any companies that have broken the law up to 10% of their turnover, according to Office of Fair Trading rules.

 

New public health bill for Wales revisits pharmaceutical needs assessments

08 November 2016, Pharmaceutical Journal

 

A new public health bill for Wales — which, if passed, will require health boards to produce pharmaceutical needs assessments (PNAs) — was laid before the Welsh Assembly on 7 November 2016.

 

The Public Health (Wales) Bill would change the way health boards make decisions about NHS dispensing contracts for new pharmacies by making sure decisions about pharmaceutical services are based on an assessment of pharmaceutical need.

 

At present, NHS contracts for new pharmacies in Wales are issued according to the “necessary or expedient test”, essentially, only allowing a new pharmacy to open if patients are deemed not to be able to access prescriptions quickly enough. The bill will propose a system similar to that already operating in England.

 

By basing decisions about issuing new contracts on PNAs, potential pharmacy contractors will be able to submit applications for a new contract when they deem existing pharmacies to have failed to meet the needs of their communities.

 

The bill will also ban smoking in school grounds, hospital grounds and public playgrounds.

 

Legislation to introduce PNAs into Wales was originally included in the Public Health (Wales) Bill, which was rejected by the Welsh Assembly in March 2016 — a decision that disappointed the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Welsh Pharmacy Board.

 

APPG TO EXAMINE INTEGRATION AND ACCESS SCHEMES IN CUTS INVESTIGATION

08 November 2016, Pharmacy Business, Neil Trainis

 

The All-Party Pharmacy Group will examine what impact the funding cuts will have on pharmacies and how the integration and access schemes will help community pharmacy develop as part of its investigation this month into the government’s controversial reforms.

 

The APPG said it will scrutinise the cuts, which have been severely criticised across the pharmacy profession and by several Labour MPs.

 

The issues the APPG is keen to examine include what effect the cuts will have on pharmacies, such as cutbacks of staff and services and enforced closure and how the Integration Fund will, as the APPG put it, “foster a modern, clinical community pharmacy service.”

 

PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe told the LPC conference that she feared much of the Integration Fund, money the government promised would go towards pharmacy in the wake of the cuts, has already gone.

 

The APPG also said it would investigate whether the Pharmacy Access Scheme will “be sufficient to ensure good access to community pharmacies.”

 

The government produced a list of pharmacies which are eligible for the payments, a list APPG chair Sir Kevin Barron recently pointed out did not contain independents who “may struggle to overcome the impact of funding reductions.”

 

The list does contain pharmacies owned by large multiples such as Tesco and Boots. The community health and care minister David Mowat told an APPG hearing that the government “had to be blind to ownership and it would not be right to determine eligibility on the basis of the financial standing of the pharmacy owner.”

 

The APPG investigation will look at how minor ailments services will be rolled out across England. Jeannette Howe, head of pharmacy at the Department of Health, told the hearing that the government planned to introduce a locally-commissioned minor ailments service across England by April 2018, services the chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge said Clinical Commissioning Groups would be “encouraged” to commission “rather than directed to commission.”

 

The APPG said it will “hold a number of evidence sessions inviting, among others, Department of Health officials, NHS England, representatives of the pharmacy sector and service users to give evidence.”

 

“Following each session, the Group will publish a statement of the evidence received, along with any recommendations,” the APPG added.

 

Barron said: “The All-Party Pharmacy Group has previously called for further investment in community pharmacies to allow them to provide more health services and ease the burden on GP surgeries and hospitals.

 

“The Department of Health believes this can be achieved with the new funding package that has been announced. The Group will therefore scrutinise what is being proposed in detail to better understand what their reforms will mean for community pharmacies, and the patients they serve.”

 

The APPG’s investigation will also consider pharmacists’ roles in GP surgeries and what changes will occur following a review by Richard Murray, director of policy at the King’s Fund, into community pharmacy clinical services which is due to be released this month.

 

APPG to investigate impact of funding cuts

08 November 2016, P3 Pharmacy

 

MPs will examine the impact of the Government’s funding package for community pharmacy in England in a series of evidence sessions organised by the All Party Pharmacy Group (APPG).

 

The investigation, starting this month, will “scrutinise aspects of the package announced on the 20th October,” said APPG, “to better understand the detail and impact of what is being proposed.”

 

“The All-Party Pharmacy Group has previously called for further investment in community pharmacies to allow them to provide more health services and ease the burden on GP surgeries and hospitals. The Department of Health believes this can be achieved with the new funding package that has been announced,” said Sir Kevin Barron MP, APPG chair.

 

“The Group will therefore scrutinise what is being proposed in detail to better understand what their reforms will mean for community pharmacies, and the patients they serve.”

 

Key questions that APPG says will be examined include:

 

· How will pharmacies respond to the funding changes? Will they make further efficiencies, reduce staffing or services, or close?

· What role will pharmacists play in GP surgeries?

· How can the Integration Fund foster a modern, clinical community pharmacy service?

· How will Minor Ailments Services be rolled out across England?

· Will the Pharmacy Access Scheme be sufficient to ensure good access to community pharmacies?

· What changes will take place following the King’s Fund report?

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 9 November 2016

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