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HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 18 December 2017

Media and Political Bulletin

18 December 2017

Media Summary

Launch of new medicines in UK face two-year delay post-Brexit, MPs told

The Pharmaceutical Journal, 15 December 2017

 

The Pharmaceutical Journal underlines that, according to evidence presented to the House of Commons Health Committee, the launch of new medicines in the UK may be delayed by two years after Brexit as it is “relegated” in the global medicines market.

The predicted delay will also have a “significant” knock-on effect on the UK’s involvement in clinical trials. “If medicines are going to be delayed by two years, then standards of care will change. And if your comparator is unlikely to be available in the UK, why would you set up a clinical trial here?” Leslie Galloway, chair of the Ethical Medicines Industry Group, a trade association for life science companies, told MPs.

Galloway was giving evidence to the committee’s ongoing inquiry into the impact of Brexit on the medicines supply chain, and on medicines and devices regulation.

 

 

Drug shortages cost NHS £38m as patients struggle

The Times, Chris Smyth, 18 December 2017

 

The Times reports that medicine shortages cost the NHS £38 million last month, as officials say they are largely powerless to solve a problem that is leaving patients struggling to obtain essential drugs.

Attempts to force down prices have led pharmacists to warn that they cannot carry on supplying patients with drugs that lose them money. A total of 91 emergency price increases have been approved for November, but pharmacists have said that these are not enough to cover the cost of crucial cancer and anti-psychotic medicines.

Worsening shortages of medicines have cost the NHS more than £200 million since April, the publication reports, because it has had to approve a series of price rises of up to 4,000 per cent.

 

 

Contractors ‘sickened’ by final 53 November concessionary prices

Chemist and Druggist, Thomas Cox, 15 December 2017

 

Chemist and Druggist reports that contractors were unimpressed by the final 53 concessionary prices for November, announced by the Department of Health (DH) and National Assembly for Wales on Thursday.

While the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Sue Sharpe said her organisation “is pleased that further November prices have finally been issued”, she stressed that “many are lower than we had sought, and some concessions we applied for have not been granted”.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

 

There is no parliamentary coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

Launch of new medicines in UK face two-year delay post-Brexit, MPs told

The Pharmaceutical Journal, 15 December 2017

 

The launch of new medicines in the UK may be delayed by two years after Brexit as it is “relegated” in the global medicines market, MPs on the House of Commons Health Committee were told on 12 December.

The predicted delay will also have a “significant” knock-on effect on the UK’s involvement in clinical trials.

“If medicines are going to be delayed by two years, then standards of care will change. And if your comparator is unlikely to be available in the UK, why would you set up a clinical trial here?” Leslie Galloway, chair of the Ethical Medicines Industry Group, a trade association for life science companies, told MPs.

Galloway was giving evidence to the committee’s ongoing inquiry into the impact of Brexit on the medicines supply chain, and on medicines and devices regulation.

Galloway’s warnings were endorsed by Steve Bates, chief executive of the BioIndustry Association, the trade association for the sector. He said he was worried that, post-Brexit, the UK would no longer have access to new medicines — including generic products — which would have “implications for the NHS”.

Funding streams — from both the private and public sectors — essential to maintain a “vibrant life sciences sector” were also at risk, according to Bates.

Uncertainty over the future regulation of medical devices because of Brexit was creating anxiety in the sector, Suzanne Halliday, head of medical devices at the British Standards Institution, told MPs.

A no-deal Brexit would be “devastating for patients” in terms of access to new medical devices. “It could mean no access to any [new] medical devices after March 2019,” she admitted.

Some device manufacturers were already moving their manufacturing out of the UK to Switzerland and to Ireland, she revealed.

At the same time drug companies were also moving their marketing authorisation to “mainland Europe” because of Brexit, Galloway added. “They will not come back to the UK,” he warned MPs.

 

 

Drug shortages cost NHS £38m as patients struggle

The Times, Chris Smyth, 18 December 2017

 

Medicine shortages cost the NHS another £38 million last month, as officials say they are largely powerless to solve a problem that leaves patients struggling to obtain essential drugs.

Attempts to force down prices have led pharmacists to warn that they cannot carry on supplying patients with drugs that lose them money. A total of 91 emergency price increases have been approved for November, but pharmacists have said that these are not enough to cover the cost of crucial cancer and anti-psychotic medicines.

Worsening shortages of medicines have cost the NHS more than £200 million since April because it has had to approve a series of price rises of up to 4,000 per cent. Patients are still experiencing delays getting medication and have sometimes had to switch drugs.

The government has moved to setting temporary prices based on manufacturers’ selling prices, rather than those charged by wholesalers, in an effort to squeeze margins. Manufacturers have accused wholesalers of inflating prices, but wholesalers have denied that they are manipulating the market.

Sir Chris Wormald, the permanent secretary at the Department of Health, told MPs last week that government had limited powers to resolve this. “There isn’t an obvious solution because it is a question of supply and demand,” he said.

Despite temporary rises for 20 more drugs than the previous month, over-payments in November totalled £38 million, down from £56 million the month before. This is because the government reduced the excess prices it pays for some drugs. For example, it will pay pharmacists £27 for olanzapine tablets, an anti-psychotic, well above the usual price of £1, but down from £62 in October. Mark Burdon, a member of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, which makes requests for price rises, said the reaction of some colleagues was that officials were “having a laugh” because wholesale prices had not come down this much.

Ben Goldacre, whose University of Oxford data team produced the November estimates, said: “We have pharmacists issuing drugs to patients, which the pharmacies have purchased a price set by the market, but those pharmacists have no idea what the NHS will pay them for it . . . The entire system needs a rethink and an overhaul.”

 

 

Contractors ‘sickened’ by final 53 November concessionary prices

Chemist and Druggist, Thomas Cox, 15 December 2017

 

Contractors were unimpressed by the final 53 concessionary prices for November, announced by the Department of Health (DH) and National Assembly for Wales yesterday.

While Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Sue Sharpe said her organisation “is pleased that further November prices have finally been issued”, she stressed that “many are lower than we had sought, and some concessions we applied for have not been granted”.

PSNC revealed last week that it requested 67 price concessions in total – 14 more than have been granted (see table below).

C+D reported earlier this month that contractors in England were “highly stressed” waiting for concessionary prices for items including levetiracetam, amlodipine and felodipine – the latter of which did not make the list.

Responding to the latest concessionary prices, the superintendent pharmacist of Broadway Pharmacy in Preston, Michael Ball, tweeted: “I honestly feel like giving up. It’s just one blow after another, beyond sickening.

“I feel like I need to determine how substantial the loss is, but then I’ll just be even more depressed and not spending the time productively,” he continued. “[I’m] honestly flabbergasted. Scary times.”

Excluding felodipine was “a joke”

Contractor Nat Mitchell from Cockermouth, Cumbria said it was “a joke” that felodipine was not among the 53 items, and that bicalutamide’s concessionary price was as low as £4.99 for 28 150mg tablets. “I feel like I’m being defrauded,” he added.

Fellow Cumbria pharmacist Ben Merriman said one wholesaler had priced bicalutamide at £39.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne pharmacy manager Rani Rehan said “thankfully” her pharmacy does not have patients on felodipine or bicalutamide, but described her reaction to the £53.63 concessionary price for 60 tablets of quetiapine 300mg as: “Ouch.”

Contractor Tony Schofield – also based in Newcastle – said “all the major wholesalers” are offering quetiapine at £136, and “the best [price] we could get” occasionally is £73.

Supplying at a loss?

Contractor Suketu Patel from Cheshire said he will “have to seriously consider” whether to supply medicines not granted a concessionary price at “below actual purchasing price”, or not at all.

Reacting to the news, Wyvern Pharmacy contractor Andrew Grierson tweeted: “Show of hands how many small contractors didn’t submit items for fear of losing out on a crippling amount of money, and now have to wait with fingers crossed for December.”

PSNC’s Ms Sharpe said she hopes the DH will respond to requests for December price concessions – submitted earlier this month – in a “more timely manner”.

HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 18 December 2017

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