HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 22 February 2017

Media Summary

February Concessionary Prices Updated

Chemist and Druggist, Thomas Cox, 21 February 2017

The Department of Health and National Assembly for Wales have agreed further concessionary prices for the following items for February 2017 prescriptions, as follows:

Drug Strength Form Price
Buspirone 5mg tablets (30) £17.50
Leflunomide 10mg tablets (30) £7.79
Leflunomide 20mg tablets (30) £9.03
Valsartan 40mg capsules (28) £4.72
Valsartan 80mg capsules (28) £5.55

Initial concessionary prices were announced earlier this month.

Delivering sustainability and transformation plans

The King’s Fund, Chris Ham, Hugh Alderwick, Phoebe Dunn, Helen McKenna, 21 February 2017

The King’s Fund has published its report examining the content of the 44 sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) which constitute the main vehicle for transforming health and care services in England, in line with the NHS five year forward view. The report looks at challenges and opportunities that come with implementing STPs. In terms of policy, the proposals in STPs now need to be developed into credible plans, with clarity about the priorities in each footprint. Changes to the law are also needed to amend aspects of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 that are not aligned with the Forward View, particularly in relation to market regulation.

Parliamentary Coverage

Lords Second Reading – European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill (Day 1)

HDA briefed the Lib Dem Health Spokesperson after the Financial Times letter from Martin Sawer. An extract from Baroness Walmsley’s speech can be found below.

Baroness Walmsley (LD):

As your Lordships will be aware, I speak for these Benches on health and social care. There are three main healthcare reasons why I believe the Bill should be amended. They boil down to: people, healthcare and Donald Trump. There are tens of thousands of EU citizens working in our health and care system and the Government are using their future, and the future of those they care for, as a pawn in a misguided game of cat and mouse with the other 27 countries. Without them, the staff shortages we are already experiencing will be a lot worse and patients will suffer. 1 am pleased there has been a cross-party outcry from your Lordships about this, so I hope all will vote for an end to that foolishness.

Secondly, the businesses which provide the drugs, medical devices and treatments that British people need will be badly affected by a hard Brexit. That is why I support access to the single market rather than just waving a white flag and not even trying. The pharmaceutical products most of us depend on are developed by research by networks of scientists working together across Europe. These networks are already suffering and the massive EU funding from which they benefit is being put at risk. Clinical trials taking place here in the UK are at risk. UK patients get access to new and cutting-edge treatments because of them. The UK has played an enormous role in the regulation and licensing of medicines for the whole EU. Indeed, much of the expertise is here. It makes no sense to develop our own system. We could lose a lot of that expertise.

Companies will always develop products for big markets where the profits are. Why would they want to develop a product to satisfy the regulations in a market of 68 million people when they could sell to a market of 400 million? Medicine distributors warn of cost increases, decreased access and even shortages. Harmonised regulation is not a burden. It gives us the freedom to sell and the confidence to buy. Why throw it away? Medcare products frequently cross borders in the course of their manufacture, packaging and labelling. Having tariffs imposed on them will increase their costs and decrease their competitiveness. So, for the sake of UK patients and their access to affordable and cutting-edge medicines and treatments, I will be supporting an amendment to give us continued access to the single market and the customs union.

Then there is Donald Trump. Our NHS is probably our most valuable asset. Already a lot of American healthcare companies are sniffing around to see what they can pick up. We all heard what Trump said about trade deals putting America first—America first, not the UK first. So anyone who thinks a trade deal with the USA will not result in a lot of our health services being run by American companies must be completely mad.

Finally, I will be supporting an amendment to ensure the approval of the British people for the deal put before them by the Government. All those who are most affected should have a say, including those who were denied one in the last referendum with its gerrymandered electorate, such as: citizens of other EU countries who live here; British citizens who have lived for many years in other EU countries; and 16 to 18 year-olds whose future study and work opportunities will be damaged by Brexit.

HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 22 February 2017

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.

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