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HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 30 April 2018

Media and Political Bulletin

30 April 2018

Media Summary

Lords slam government commitment to life sciences strategy

PharmaTimes, Selina McKee, 30 April 2018

PharmaTimes reports that the House of Lords has slammed the government’s commitment to delivering the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, deeming it “incoherent” and “wholly inadequate”.

An inquiry by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has uncovered “complicated arrangements” for the Strategy’s implementation, as well as “a lack of clear authority and accountability”, which, it says, raises questions about the government’s commitment to driving it forward.

In its report, Life Sciences Industrial Strategy: Who’s driving the bus?, the Committee recommends a “sweeping simplification” of the Strategy’s implementation arrangements, and calls for “immediate action” to ensure development and expansion of the sector.

Also reported in The Pharmaceutical Journal.

ABPI response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report

ABPI, 26 April 2018

In response to the House of Lords report on the Government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, the ABPI have published the following statement:

“The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy is the blueprint for the UK’s success in life sciences as we leave the EU. In the short time since the strategy was published, the Government has worked closely with industry – with the first sector deal published only a few months after the report’s publication. We need to see the full implementation of the strategy to deliver on its aims, and we welcome the Government’s collaborative approach and the leadership from Sir John Bell to see this happen.

 “We want the UK to become a world leader in health data, in clinical trials and in the development as well as adoption of new treatments for patients. Now we have the structures in place, through the implementation of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, to work closely with government, academia and health charities, we look to mirror this with the NHS as well. The NHS is the heart of our sector and critical to its success: the strategy cannot succeed without its support.”

ABPI responds to Kings Fund report into the cost of medicines for the NHS

ABPI, 26 April 2018

Last week, the Kings Fund published a new report into the cost of medicines looking at how much the health service spends in total on medicines; both generics and branded medicines.

Dr Richard Torbett, commercial policy director of the ABPI, responded, saying:

“This report provides some very good analysis and insight into UK medicines policy.

“The vast majority of new hospital medicines, including those for Hep C, HIV prevention and new cancer drugs are part of a scheme which caps the amount the NHS spends on medicines, so any suggestion that they are causing an uncontrollable rise is costs is not accurate.  We know with absolute certainty that the spend on these medicines has actually fallen in real terms in the past five years.

“As the report shows, any increase in spending is largely due to the NHS treating more patients with highly effective, older and cheaper medicines, like statins.”

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons, Customs and Borders debate, 26 April 2018

Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston was one of several MPs to raise concerns about the impact of Brexit on pharmaceuticals in increased delays, costs, and shortages during a House of Commons debate on customs and borders.

Ms Wollaston said:

“For years, we have taken it for granted that when a prescription is issued, it will be available on the pharmacy shelf.

“I am afraid that we will not be able to take that for granted in the future, because the complex supply chain—from the research lab right through to the pharmacy shelf—will be disrupted by delays at the border, and that will affect costs.”

To read the full debate, please follow this link.

Tabled Written Questions, House of Commons, 26 April 2018

Tom Brake MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish the Government’s commissioned analysis by Ernst and Young of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on the medicines supply chain.

Answered by Steve Brine: Due to the large volume of commercial and sensitive information that has been shared by the pharmaceutical industry throughout this work, the Department will be unable to publish the final report. However, we will consider publication of an executive summary of the work.

Frank Field MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on negotiations for a new pharmacy contract; and what the timetable is for the interim arrangements published in the Drug Tariff to remain in place.

Answered by Steve Brine: We have agreed interim arrangements for the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework whilst Ministers consider further their substantive proposals for 2018/19 and beyond. These arrangements published in the Drug Tariff will remain in place until any revised arrangements are determined. Ministers expect negotiations with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee to discuss a substantive settlement for community pharmacy will commence shortly.

Frank Field MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that stocks of medicines that are in short supply are distributed equitably and proportionately amongst community pharmacies.

Answered by Steve Brine: The Department is unable to directly control how stock is distributed as this is under the control of the individual suppliers or wholesalers. However, in the event of supply issues the Department will work with suppliers and wholesalers to encourage and support them, so where possible, supplies are distributed equitably and proportionally.

Frank Field MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) competitiveness and (b) effectiveness of the wholesale pharmaceutical market to provide an affordable supply of medicines for patients.

Answered by Steve Brine: The Department has not made such an assessment.

Luciana Berger MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to support the maintenance of links between regulators, research ethics committees, researchers and the pharmaceutical industry in the UK and the European Medicines Agency after the UK leaves the EU.

Answered by Caroline Dinenage: The Department has always made clear its intention to retain a close working partnership with the European Union, in the interest of ensuring patients continue to have timely access to safe medicines and medical innovations. This includes maintaining a strong working relationship with the European Medicines Agency on all aspects of the life sciences sector.

It is of mutual benefit for the EU to collaborate closely with such a well-developed life sciences market in the United Kingdom. Both sides will always be stronger by working in partnership.

Tim Farron MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 23 April 2018 to Question 136501, how the Government plans for the UK to participate in the European Medicines Agency during the transition period after the UK leaves the EU.

Answered by Jackie Doyle-Price: From 30 March 2019, the United Kingdom will no longer be a Member of the European Union. However, under the terms of the implementation period agreement regulatory standards and market access for all medicines will continue on current terms.

Both sides agree that for the implementation period to function effectively, the UK will need to remain in step with the EU. In this context, the Withdrawal Agreement will be underpinned by a duty of good faith, with a Joint Committee in place enabling either side to raise issues or concerns. These arrangements will help ensure that the implementation period works properly for both sides.

Common rules will remain in place and the UK may continue to participate in EU agencies and bodies where the presence of the United Kingdom is necessary and is in the interests of the EU, or where the discussion concerns acts addressed to the UK and its citizens. The exact nature of this participation will be a matter for further discussion.

Regarding the future relationship, the Prime Minister’s Mansion House speech outlined that we will also explore the terms on which the UK could remain part of the European Medicines Agency. While it would not be appropriate to pre-judge the outcome of the negotiations, we will discuss with the EU and Member States how best to continue cooperation in medicines regulation.

Luciana Berger MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will negotiate a deal with the EU to allow mutual recognition agreements on the manufacture and distribution of investigational medicinal products and pharmacovigilance services after the UK leaves the EU.

Answered by Jackie Doyle-Price: From 30 March 2019, the United Kingdom will no longer be a Member of the European Union. However, under the terms of the implementation period agreement regulatory standards and market access for all medicines will continue on current terms.

Regarding the future relationship, the Prime Minister’s Mansion House speech outlined that we will also explore the terms on which the UK could remain part of the European Medicines Agency. While it would not be appropriate to pre-judge the outcome of the negotiations, we will discuss with the EU and Member States how best to continue cooperation in medicines regulation more broadly, including manufacturing and distribution of investigational medicinal products and pharmacovigilance services.

Our overall aim is to ensure that patients in the UK and across the EU continue to be able to access the best and most innovative medicines and be assured that their safety is protected through the strongest regulatory framework and continued sharing of data.

Full Coverage

Lords slam government commitment to life sciences strategy

PharmaTimes, Selina McKee, 30 April 2018

The House of Lords has slammed the government’s commitment to delivering the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, deeming it “incoherent” and “wholly inadequate”.

An inquiry by The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has uncovered “complicated arrangements” for the Strategy’s implementation, as well as “a lack of clear authority and accountability”, which, it says, raises questions about the government’s commitment to driving it forward.

In its report, Life Sciences Industrial Strategy: Who’s driving the bus?, the Committee recommends a “sweeping simplification” of the Strategy’s implementation arrangements, and calls for “immediate action” to ensure development and expansion of the sector.

It also suggests the establishment of a single body that has complete oversight of implementation, called the Life Sciences Governing Body, which must have cross-party support.

“Prompt and vigorous action by the government can save the day. This strategy has already secured the commitment of the business, charity and academic communities. But the central role of the NHS in the life sciences means only the government can take the lead,” it argues.

According to the report, the government has failed to engage the NHS effectively, and so the NHS’ commitment to the strategy has so far been “incoherent, uncoordinated and ineffective”.

The NHS does not have the capacity to rise to the challenge of implementing the strategy, and its current structures “stifle innovation”.

The NHS must give greater priority to the uptake and spread of innovation and to rewarding clinicians and managers who make such adoption successful, the Committee stressed, and called on the government to explore financial incentives for those NHS trusts that do so.

“If implemented correctly the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy will make a major contribution to the future economic prosperity of the UK but what became clear throughout our inquiry is that it stands little chance of success without a detailed plan for implementation and clear lines of authority, responsibility and accountability,” said Chairman of the Committee, Lord Patel.

“The government has an opportunity right now to get ahead of international competition. It can, and must, take bold steps to secure the future growth and expansion of the life sciences sector. This is even more vital as the UK prepares for life outside the European Union.”

But the government said it “does not recognise the Committee’s assessment”.

In a statement emailed to PharmaTimes, a spokesperson noted that the Life Sciences Sector Deal has “committed £500 million of government investment into UK life sciences, backed by investment from 25 organisations across the sector, that will build on the sector’s strengths, secure thousands of jobs and create new innovative medicines and technologies, giving NHS patients access to the best possible treatments.

“The government will continue to work closely with industry to seize the future opportunities in this area and we will respond to the report in due course.”

Sir John Bell also said the government has made “enormous progress” in implementing its recommendations.

“With the help of industry and the charity sector, it has launched the world’s largest genomics programme, is creating digital pathology centres with industry and digital innovation hubs to work with industry. This is in addition to a new set of manufacturing facilities.”

Highlighting that the Strategy is “the blueprint for the UK’s success in life sciences as we leave the EU”, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry ABPI said: “We need to see the full implementation of the strategy to deliver on its aims, and we welcome the Government’s collaborative approach and the leadership from Sir John Bell to see this happen.

“The NHS is the heart of our sector and critical to its success: the strategy cannot succeed without its support.”

ABPI response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report

ABPI, 26 April 2018

This week, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published a report into the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, asking: “Who’s Driving the Bus?”

26 Apr 2018 Posted in ABPI response By Press Office

In response, the ABPI said:

“The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy is the blueprint for the UK’s success in life sciences as we leave the EU. In the short time since the strategy was published, the Government has worked closely with industry – with the first sector deal published only a few months after the report’s publication. We need to see the full implementation of the strategy to deliver on its aims, and we welcome the Government’s collaborative approach and the leadership from Sir John Bell to see this happen.

“We want the UK to become a world leader in health data, in clinical trials and in the development as well as adoption of new treatments for patients. Now we have the structures in place, through the implementation of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, to work closely with government, academia and health charities, we look to mirror this with the NHS as well. The NHS is the heart of our sector and critical to its success: the strategy cannot succeed without its support.”

ABPI responds to Kings Fund report into the cost of medicines for the NHS

ABPI, 26 April 2018

This week, the Kings Fund published a new report into the cost of medicines looking at how much the health service spends in total on medicines; both generics and branded medicines.

26 Apr 2018 Posted in ABPI response By Press Office

Dr Richard Torbett, commercial policy director of the ABPI, said:

“This report provides some very good analysis and insight into UK medicines policy.

“The vast majority of new hospital medicines, including those for Hep C, HIV prevention and new cancer drugs are part of a scheme which caps the amount the NHS spends on medicines, so any suggestion that they are causing an uncontrollable rise is costs is not accurate.  We know with absolute certainty that the spend on these medicines has actually fallen in real terms in the past five years.

“As the report shows, any increase in spending is largely due to the NHS treating more patients with highly effective, older and cheaper medicines, like statins.”

HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 30 April 2018

From Factory to Pharmacy

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