News

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 5 November 2021

Media Coverage

DH launches freight service to transport medicines at risk of shortage
Chemist+Druggist, Valeria Fiore, 4 November 2021

The Chemist+Druggist reports that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has introduced a new service to rapidly send medicines at risk of shortage to the UK when suppliers are having problems with their own transport arrangements.

The International Express Freight Service (IEFS) is a contingency measure to ensure that medicines at risk of shortage can reach the UK within days.

The DHSC said that when a supplier’s own logistical arrangements are disrupted the IEFS will “support supply chain resilience in the UK and mitigate potential shortages”.

Health minister Edward Argar said the DHSC’s priority is “to help ensure NHS patients can always access the treatments they need without delay”, continuing “global supply chains are unpredictable, and our new IEFS will rapidly transport medical products in shortage to the UK within days”.

This was also reported by P3 Pharmacy

Covid booster jabs rollout ‘limited by public demand’ rather than supply, ministers believe
I News, Hugo Gye and Serina Sandhu, 3 November 2021

I News reports that ministers believe that the pace of the Covid-19 booster vaccines rollout is being dictated by demand rather than supply or NHS capacity.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup spoke to seven different local BBC radio stations on Tuesday to help convince the public to take up the offer of a booster jab as soon as they are eligible.

A No 10 spokesman said: “It is vital that those who need this protection come forward and get it as soon as possible. There is capacity within our NHS to provide the booster jabs, those clinicians are ready and waiting to provide it and we urge everybody to come forward”.

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today. 


Full Coverage

DH launches freight service to transport medicines at risk of shortage
Chemist+Druggist, Valeria Fiore, 4 November 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) has introduced a new service to rapidly send medicines at risk of shortage to the UK when suppliers are having problems with their own transport arrangements.

The International Express Freight Service (IEFS) – the contract for which has been awarded to Kuehne+Nagel International – is a “contingency measure” that will ensure that medicines at risk of shortage can reach the UK “within days”, the DH said in a statement earlier this week (November 2).

In the event where a supplier’s own logistical arrangements are disrupted, the government will resort to IEFS to “support supply chain resilience in the UK and mitigate potential shortages”, it said.

Small parcels will be collected and delivered within 24 to 48 hours, while the delivery time for pallets and shipments will be up to four working days, the DH said. Meanwhile, “specialised products with a controlled or regulated handling requirement [will be] fast-tracked within 24 hours”, the DH added.

Supply chain “unpredictable”

Health minister Edward Argar said the DH’s priority is “to help ensure NHS patients can always access the treatments they need without delay”.

“Global supply chains are unpredictable, and our new IEFS will rapidly transport medical products in shortage to the UK within days,” he added.

Following the fuel shortage that affected the UK earlier this year, wholesaler Phoenix told C+D in September that the UK’s fuel situation and “chronic” labour shortages had left the medicines supply chain in a “very fragile state”.

However, a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) told C+D at the time that there were “no disruptions or delays to the supply of medicines”.

Covid booster jabs rollout ‘limited by public demand’ rather than supply, ministers believe
I News, Hugo Gye and Serina Sandhu, 3 November 2021

The pace of the Covid-19 booster vaccines rollout is being dictated by demand rather than supply or NHS capacity, ministers believe.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup – who has been criticised for her low profile since taking the job in September – this week launched a local media blitz to accompany a BBC special featuring deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam.

The pair attempted to convince the public to take up the offer of a booster jab as soon as they are eligible amid concerns millions have not yet come forward for their third dose.

A No 10 spokesman said: “It is vital that those who need this protection come forward and get it as soon as possible. There is capacity within our NHS to provide the booster jabs, those clinicians are ready and waiting to provide it and we urge everybody to come forward.

“We don’t face limitations on vaccine supply. Our NHS, our pharmacists have the capacity to provide booster doses, I think the vast majority of everyone registered with a GP lives within 10 miles of a vaccine site.”

Ms Throup spoke to seven different local BBC radio stations on Tuesday and is understood to be planning more media appearances in the coming weeks, although she has done few national media interviews.

So far around 58 per cent of English adults aged 50 or older who are eligible for a booster have had one. Polls show 90 per cent of double-vaccinated people would be willing to get a third dose, although the experience of other countries such as Israel suggests that actual uptake may end up falling short of that figure.

Adam Finn, a professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol and member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told i that the booster jab programme was complicated and only appeared “slow” due to the “extraordinary” pace of the initial Covid-19 vaccination drive.

The booster rollout is going “quite fast” by normal standards, he said. “JCVI feels the real priority is getting booster doses into the oldest people… the people showing up in hospital are the elderly who got immunised first,” said Professor Finn.

i analysis this week showed the roll-out of Covid boosters jabs for all over-50s in England will take another three months to complete if it continues at the current rate.

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 5 November 2021

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