News

Media and Political Bulletin – 04 August 2020

Media and Political Bulletin

04 August 2020

Media Summary

UK warns drug firms to stockpile in case of Brexit disruption

The Guardian, 04 August 2020

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has written to medicine suppliers advising them to stockpile six weeks’ worth of drugs to guard against disruption at the end of the Brexit transition period.

The advice comes amid continued uncertainty over whether the UK and the EU will be able to strike an agreement on a future relationship before time runs out. It also comes amid concerns that the Covid-19 crisis has led to a dwindling of some medical stocks and that a disorderly exit without a trade deal could cause significant disruption.

“Holding additional stock in the UK provides a further buffer against some disruption and we believe, where it’s possible, it’s a valuable part of a robust contingency plan,” the letter, signed by Steve Oldfield, Chief Commercial Officer at DHSC, says.

This is also covered in Evening Standard, Express, The Independent, Daily Mail, BBC News, Reuters, The Telegraph, ITV, The New European, Pharmacy Business, Yahoo Finance, The Times, Wales Online, FirstWord Pharma and Medical Xpress.

Parliamentary Coverage

Letter to medicine suppliers: 3 August 2020

Steve Oldfield, Chief Commercial Officer, Department of Health and Social Care

Steve Oldfield wrote to medicine suppliers to share information on the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, as it relates to the continuity of the supply of medicines and medical products to the UK. This follows the government’s recent confirmation that the transition period will cease as planned on 31 December 2020 and there will be no extension.

You can view the full correspondence here.

DHSC Webinar on the Continuity of Medical Supplies at the End of the Transition Period

The Department of Health & Social Care will be hosting a webinar on 11 August 2020 from 10am-11am UK time, to introduce the plans and preparations of the Department to support the continuity of medical supplies at the end of the transition period (end of December 2020).

This webinar follows from the recent letter from Steve Oldfield, Chief Commercial Officer, at the Department. David Simmons, Director, Supply Resilience at DHSC and Ed Palferman, Head of Engagement and Communications, Continuity of Supply at DHSC, will be presenting. Register here to attend the webinar.

House of Commons, Written Answers – 03 August 2020

Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak):

  • To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) effectiveness and (b) safety of using alternatives to Hormone Therapy Replacement patches.
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress his Department has made on tackling the shortage of Hormone Therapy Replacement patches.

Jo Churchill: We have been working closely with all suppliers of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) preparations to maintain overall supply to patients. Supplies of alternative HRT products continue to remain available and the situation has been improving steadily since the end of February 2020.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has made an assessment of the clinical and cost effectiveness of HRT, including transdermal patches, and has made recommendations on their use in its guideline on menopause: diagnosis and management [NG23].

The safety and efficacy of individual products that are authorised for the relief of oestrogen deficiency symptoms associated with the menopause are assessed at the time each product is licensed and safety is continuously monitored once it is on the market.

Most post-marketing studies examine the safety of HRT products as a group and the safety of HRT products as a class has been kept under continuous review by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in conjunction with its independent scientific advisory body, the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) and its Expert Advisory Group on Medicines for Women’s Health. Likewise, the safety of licensed medicines and herbal products that are used as alternatives to HRT are continuously monitored by the MHRA and advice sought from the CHM, as needed, when new safety issues arise.

Full Coverage

UK warns drug firms to stockpile in case of Brexit disruption

The Guardian, 04 August 2020

Pharmaceutical companies should stockpile six weeks’ worth of drugs to guard against disruption at the end of the Brexit transition period, the government has said.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has written to medicine suppliers advising them to make boosting their reserves a priority.

The letter, published online on Monday, reiterates that ministers will not be asking for an extension to the transition period past 31 December, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

There are concerns that the Covid-19 crisis has led to a dwindling of some medical stocks and that a disorderly exit without a trade deal could cause significant disruption.

Suppliers were advised all scenarios must be planned for, including reduced traffic flow at short Channel crossings such as between Calais and Dover.

“We recognise that global supply chains are under significant pressure, exacerbated by recent events with Covid-19,” the letter says.

“However, we encourage companies to make stockpiling a key part of contingency plans, and ask industry, where possible, to stockpile to a target level of six weeks’ total stock on UK soil.”

The advice comes amid continued uncertainty over whether the UK and the EU will be able to strike an agreement on a future relationship before time runs out.

Brussels’ chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said last month that London’s position made the prospects of a deal “at this point unlikely”.

The British Medical Association, the trade union representing doctors, warned the stockpile is “at best a short-term solution”.

Deputy council chairman, Dr David Wrigley, said: “With the transition period only months away and at the height of what will be an undoubtedly difficult winter, this is incredibly concerning.

“The BMA has consistently warned that a no-deal Brexit could have a potentially devastating impact on the NHS and consequently the health of the nation. Now, more than ever, it is absolutely crucial that the government secure a relationship that protects the future health of this country.”

Media and Political Bulletin – 04 August 2020

From Factory to Pharmacy

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