News

HDA UK MEDIA AND POLITICAL BULLETIN – 9 August 2017

MEDIA SUMMARY 

Pharmacy service will save NHS £517.6m, finds study
Rachel Elliott, University of Manchester, 8 August 2017

A study from the University of Manchester, also covered in The Pharmaceutical Journal and P3 Pharmacy has found that an NHS regimen to encourage patients to stick to their drug programme has been so successful it could save the NHS £517.6 million over the long term. The New Medicine Service, the scheme in question, has improved medicines adherence by 10 percent. Even in the short term, the program has saved the NHS £75.4 million. The study was conducted by the Universities of Manchester, Nottingham, UCL and community pharmacists. The study involved 504 patients. The study’s lead, Professor Rachel Elliott from Manchester, said the results were “good news for community pharmacists”, and will likely “improve patients’ quality of life” in the long term.

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins re-appointed Chair
MHRA Announcement, 8 August 2017

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins has been re-appointed chair of the MHRA. He was originally appointed in 2014, and will now serve a further 3 year term. Earlier this year, Sir Michael was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) for the services to the safety of medicines, healthcare and innovation. Sir Michael said that he was delighted on the re-appointment and that he looks forward “to taking on the next challenge, as we seek to continue to play a leading role in both Europe and the world on promoting public health.”

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FULL COVERAGE 

Pharmacy service will save NHS £517.6m, finds study
Rachel Elliott, University of Manchester, 8 August 2017

A scheme launched by the Department of Health in 2011 to help patients stick to their drug regimens has been so successful, that in its first five years, it will save NHS England £517.6m  in the long-term, a team of health economists has found.

Lead researcher Professor Rachel Elliott from The University of Manchester says the New Medicine Service – a free scheme where community pharmacists help patients take new medicines  – has improved medicines adherence by 10%.

The study was conducted by experts at The Universities of Manchester, Nottingham, UCL and a Patient and Public Representative.

Even in the short term, say the team, the scheme –where pharmacists are paid £24.60 each time they look after a patient as part of NMS has saved the NHS £75.4m.

The team used self-reported adherence at 10 weeks, considered the minimum time required to demonstrate behavioural change in a sample of 503 patients.

She said “On the basis of the evidence we have gathered for this research, we strongly  recommend that NMS should continue to be commissioned in the future.

“Our study suggests NMS  increased patient medicine adherence compared with normal practice, which translated into increased health gain at reduced overall cost. “This is a simple intervention which has been popular with community pharmacists and patients, and is transferable into most therapeutic areas. “Some medicines, for example,  can have early adverse effects but they subside over time such as anti-depressants. “And we also believe these findings are likely to have applicability to other health care systems, including those based on insurance.”

From inception of the NMS to the end of August 2016, 3.59 million consultations have been claimed for with over 820 000 in the year 2015/16 – according to the researchers.

Of 11,495 community pharmacies in England, 91.2% had delivered the NMS to at least one patient between November 2011 and January 2014, according to NHS Business Services Authority.

She added: “These are significant  benefits for two reasons because so many patients have experienced the service.

“We also think our figures are probably on the conservative side given probable patient recruitment bias, use of self-report of adherence, and the assumption that all the patients in the intervention arm actually received the NMS.”

Non-adherence is common in diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease where only 33% of patients continue their drugs after 10 weeks. In  schizophrenia the figure is  52%,  asthma: 67%; and diabetes 78%.

According to previous research, the costs to NHS England of non-adherence is over £930 million per year  in just five diseases: asthma, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol/coronary heart disease, hypertension and schizophrenia.

To tackle the problem –which causes reduced quality of life, increased hospitalisations and premature deaths –  the Department of Health launched  the service six years ago.

NMS set to save the NHS £517m, study finds
P3 Pharmacy, 8 August 2017

A team of health economists from the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham and UCL examined the benefits of NMS, through which pharmacists offer free advice and support to patients who are newly prescribed treatment for certain long-term conditions. Using a sample of 503 patients, the team examined self-reported adherence at 10 weeks; this is considered to be the minimum time needed to demonstrate behavioural change.

The team says that the NMS has improved medicines adherence by 10 per cent since its 2011 launch, which as well as saving NHS England more than £500 million in the long term has already delivered short-term savings of £75.4 million.

Lead researcher professor Rachael Elliott from the University of Manchester said; “On the basis of the evidence we have gathered for this research, we strongly recommend that NMS should continue to be commissioned in the future.

“Our study suggests NMS increased patient medicine adherence compared with normal practice, which translated into increased health gain at reduced overall cost.”

‘The holy grail of medicines optimisation’

RPS England chair Sandra Gidley said: “This research provides a resounding endorsement of the benefits to patient care and to the NHS of the New Medicine Service. Better health outcomes combined with significant savings to the NHS budget is the holy grail of medicine optimisation.

“The list of medicines covered by the service should now be extended to cover all long-term conditions, including mental health issues, so that more patients can benefit in a structured way from the support a pharmacist can offer. We’d also like to see more patients referred into the service by primary or secondary care providers to ensure the service is used as widely as possible. All patients prescribed new medication should be encouraged to take part in the New Medicine Service by their prescriber.”

The researchers say that 3.59 million NMS consultations have been claimed for since the scheme launched in 2011, with over 820,000 in the year 2015/16. At least 95 per cent of pharmacies in England had held a consultation with at least one patient between November 2011 and January 2014, according to NHS Business Services Authority.

Previous research from the University of Nottingham has found that the cost to NHS England of non-adherence is over £930 million in just five diseases: asthma, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol/coronary heart disease, hypertension and schizophrenia.

New Medicines Service could save the NHS £517.6 million, economic study finds
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Debbie Andalo, 8 August 2017

The new medicines service (NMS), delivered by community pharmacists in England, has the potential to save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds and could be expanded to cover more long-term conditions, according to UK researchers[1].

The researchers, who came from the University of Manchester and University of Nottingham, found that in its first five years the NMS saved the NHS £75.4m.

The evaluation was based on the results of a randomised controlled trial involving 504 patients (251 who received the NMS service and 253 who received a normal service) which assessed the effectiveness of the NMS over 10 weeks. According to patient reports, it was found that the NMS “significantly” increased the proportion of adherence by 10.2% (70.7 % compared with normal practice of 60.5 %).

They also discovered that the NMS generated a mean of 0.05 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.00–0.13) more Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) per patient, at a mean reduced cost of -£144 (95% CI -769 to 73).

Writing in the journal PharmacoEconomics (online, 3 August 2017), the researchers said that their economic evaluation suggests £75.4m short-term savings to the NHS, £517.6m long-term cost savings to the NHS and 179,500 QALYs gained. They recommended that on the basis of their evidence the NMS should continue to be commissioned.

Lead researcher, professor of health economics and pharmacist, Rachel Elliot, said the study shows that the NMS works and is successful in the current NHS climate.

“It’s very good news for community pharmacists,” she said.

“When people start taking medicines it’s at about two weeks that they start to make decisions about whether they will carry on with them. Under the NMS, pharmacists get in early and discuss some of those issues and if necessary refer back to the GP.

“We have confirmed that it saves money, and, looking further into the future, that it is going to improve patients’ quality of life,” she added.

According to the study, community pharmacists have carried out 3.59 million NMS consultations since the scheme was introduced in 2011 to the end of August 2016. Under the NMS, community pharmacists support patients when they are first prescribed medicines for the management of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and anti-platelet regimens.

But Elliott said the service could bring similar benefits to other long-term conditions and that there is already interest expressed from patient charities supporting people with Alzheimer’s disease, mental health conditions and glaucoma.

Liz Butterfield, member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English pharmacy board says GPs and practice pharmacists have to recognise the new medicines support that community pharmacists can offer

Liz Butterfield, a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) English pharmacy board with an interest in medicines optimisation, said that the results are very encouraging.

“This sort of service should be routinely integrated into care pathways to ensure that outcomes are as successful as possible,” she added.

But Butterfield said that there needs to be a cultural shift to achieve this — GPs and practice pharmacists have to recognise the new medicines support that community pharmacists can offer and patients also have to appreciate the accessible medicines advice and support that community pharmacists provide.

“This is about proper integrated care and this report is a fantastic start to enable that,” she said.

Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), said that he was delighted to see yet another piece of analysis supporting the benefits of the NMS, with researchers this time concluding that the service improves patient outcomes and can reduce costs for the NHS in the long term.

“This will, of course, come as no surprise to the community pharmacists offering the service every day, and seeing the positive difference that it makes for their patients,” he said.

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins re-appointed Chair
MHRA Announcement, 8 August 2017

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency announced the re-appointment of Professor Sir Michael Rawlins as its Chair yesterday for a further 3 years.

Since taking up the position of chair at the Agency in 2014, Sir Michael has overseen the Agency’s work as an effective regulator of medicines and medical devices across the UK. He has promoted the first-class science and research carried out in each of the Agency’s centres; the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) and MHRA.

Earlier this year, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) for the services to the safety of medicines, healthcare and innovation.

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins said:

“I am delighted to serve as the Agency’s Chair for a second term. One of the joys of this job is seeing each part of the Agency continue to deliver innovative science and protect public health.

“I am looking forward to taking on the next challenge, as we seek to continue to play a leading role in both Europe and the world on promoting public health.”

Chief Executive Dr Ian Hudson said:

“Sir Mike has overseen a very successful period in the Agency’s history, and I’m delighted to see his re-appointment, as we move into an equally crucial next stage.

“He has been at the forefront of innovation, development and leadership in the public health sector for more than 3 decades.”

HDA UK MEDIA AND POLITICAL BULLETIN – 9 August 2017

From Factory to Pharmacy

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