News

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 13 September 2021

Media Coverage

People of NI should have access to all the medicines they need: Sefcovic
Evening Standard, Rebecca Black, 11 September 2021

The Evening Standard reports that Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations and Chief EU negotiator said the people of Northern Ireland should have access to all the medicines that they need.

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the region will be subject to the EU’s pharmaceutical regulatory system. The protocol poses a threat to the supply of drugs from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Speaking in Belfast last week, Maroš Šefčovič said he will do “whatever it takes to resolve the situation” and stressed the importance of issues of medicine supply, especially considering the pandemic.

The article highlights that Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionist Party said Maroš Šefčovič had assured them on resolving the medicines issue.

Maroš Šefčovič stated: “It’s quite clear that the people in Northern Ireland should have access to all medicines they need, generics, cancer treatment, any medicine they need, and I will do whatever it takes to resolve the situation.”

Community pharmacy teams not covered by mandatory COVID and flu jab plans
Chemist and Druggist, Grace Lewis, 10 September 2021

The Chemist and Druggist reports that the announcement made by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to make both COVID-19 and flu vaccinations mandatory for staff in health and care settings in England does not apply to community pharmacists and their teams.

The DHSC launched a six-week consultation proposing to make COVID-19 and flu vaccinations mandatory for frontline NHS staff, unless they are medically exempt.

The DHSC said that the proposals only apply to “those with face-to-face contact with patients and clients through the delivery of services as part of a Care Quality Commission (CQC)-regulated activity.” A spokesperson for the DHSC confirmed that this does not include community pharmacies.

However, the proposals could extend to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in GP practices, as they are CQC regulated.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

Written Question – House of Commons, 7 September 2021

Dr Philippa Whitford (Scottish National Party): To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has for a covid-19 vaccine booster campaign in autumn 2021.

Written Answer – House of Commons, 10 September 2021
Nadhim Zahawi (Conservative): The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published interim advice on a potential Covid-19 booster vaccination programme on 30th June 2021, which can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jcvi-interim-advice-on-a-potential-coronavirus-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-for-winter-2021-to-2022

The JCVI’s interim advice is that COVID-19 boosters should first be offered to the most vulnerable. The JCVI advises a two staged approach, with individuals in Stage 1 offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine, and flu vaccine, as soon as possible from September, and individuals in Stage 2 offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine as soon as practicable after Stage 1, with equal emphasis on deployment of the flu vaccine where eligible.

Final decisions on the timing and scope and cohort eligibility, including the groups listed above, of any COVID-19 vaccine booster programme will be confirmed once the JCVI have provided their final advice, alongside considerations related to COVID-19 vaccine supply and approvals by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

 

Full Coverage

People of NI should have access to all the medicines they need: Sefcovic
Evening Standard, Rebecca Black, 11 September 2021

The EU’s chief negotiator on Brexit has said the people of Northern Ireland should have access to all the medicines that they need.

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union under the terms of the contentious Northern Ireland Protocol, the region will fall within the EU’s pharmaceutical regulatory system.

An initial 12-month grace period was agreed to delay the introduction of the new arrangements until 2022.

Currently the vast majority of Northern Ireland’s drugs supplies come from Great Britain, a trade route which has been disrupted by the terms of the protocol, sparking

Speaking in Belfast on Friday, Maros Sefcovic said he will do “whatever it takes to resolve the situation”.

He said he takes the issue of the supply of medicines “very personally especially in these post-Covid times”.

On Thursday, Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionist Party said Mr Sefcovic had given a firm assurance to resolve the medicines issue.

On Friday, he said: “It’s quite clear that the people in Northern Ireland should have access to all medicines they need, generics, cancer treatment, any medicine they need, and I will do whatever it takes to resolve the situation.

“I believe we will have constructive engagement with our UK partners on this and we want to make sure the medicine will be available as they are right now, and that no hurdles will be created.”

Community pharmacy teams not covered by mandatory COVID and flu jab plans
Chemist and Druggist, Grace Lewis, 10 September 2021

Community pharmacists and their teams are not covered by proposals from the DH to make both COVID-19 and flu vaccinations mandatory for staff in health and care settings in England.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) launched a six-week consultation yesterday (September 9) proposing to make COVID-19 and flu vaccinations mandatory for frontline NHS staff – unless they are medically exempt – as a condition of working in health and care settings.

However, the proposals only apply to “those with face-to-face contact with patients and clients through the delivery of services as part of a Care Quality Commission (CQC)-regulated activity”, the DH said.

“As [community] pharmacies are not CQC regulated…they are not within scope,” a spokesperson for the DH confirmed to C+D.

However, the proposals could extend to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in GP practices, as they are CQC regulated.

From next month, anyone working in a CQC-registered care home in England – including pharmacists who work in or visit care homes – will be required by law to be immunised against COVID-19, unless they are medically exempt, following a 16-week grace period for health workers to receive both doses.

The consultation on the mandatory vaccinations “will seek views on the proposals, its scope, and any potential impact it could have on staffing and safety such as reducing staff sickness absence”, the DH explained.

“Staff, healthcare providers, stakeholders, patients and their families are being urged to take part to have their views heard, with a final decision expected this winter,” it said.

Do you think the mandatory vaccination requirement should be extended to all community pharmacy staff? Vote in C+D’s poll below.

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin –  13 September 2021

From Factory to Pharmacy

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