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Media And Political Bulletin – 07 May 2020

Media and Political Bulletin

07 May 2020

Media Summary

 

GPhC warns seven online pharmacies over illegal COVID-19 tests

Chemist+Druggist, Eliza Slawther, 06 May 2020

Chemist+Druggist reports that the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has written to seven online pharmacies to request they remove illegal COVID-19 home testing kits from sale.

While it is legal for pharmacies to sell tests where samples are subsequently analysed in a laboratory, it is currently illegal to supply tests with rapid results for testing and diagnosing at home or in community pharmacies.

MHRA head of operations for enforcement Tariq Sarwar said the regulator was “committed to working together with law enforcement to protect public health and prevent unsafe medicines and medical devices getting to the public.”

EXCLUSIVE: Hancock pledges more support for pharmacy but rules out writing off £300m uplift

Pharmacy Business, Pri Mandav, 06 May 2020

Following the announcement of the £300 million “advance funding” to alleviate immediate pharmacy cashflow issues, Pharmacy Business reports that Matt Hancock has said he is “working with the pharmacy sector on how to make sure that pharmacies are sustainable in these really difficult times, and feel supported”.

Acknowledging the vital role of pharmacists in the pandemic whilst also pledging more support for the sector, Hancock noted that his enthusiasm for the sector led him to making it “a big part” of his priority as health secretary, adding: “We are going to put more and more support into pharmacy.”

Parliamentary Coverage

 

There was no parliamentary coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

GPhC warns seven online pharmacies over illegal COVID-19 tests

Chemist+Druggist, Eliza Slawther, 06 May 2020

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has written to seven online pharmacies to request they remove illegal COVID-19 home testing kits from sale.

It is legal for pharmacies to sell tests where samples are subsequently analysed in a laboratory,

It is currently illegal to supply tests with rapid results for testing and diagnosing at home or in community pharmacies.

The GPhC told C+D last month (April 29) that it had written to the seven pharmacies to underline the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) guidance that it is “illegal to sell home test kits without a CE mark” . It also requested that the tests were removed from sale, it said.

“We expect pharmacy owners to comply with the law and consider relevant guidance from appropriate bodies such as the MHRA, Public Health England (PHE) and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society,” the GPhC added.

“MHRA advice is that there are currently no CE-marked tests for home use, and it is illegal to supply such products,” it explained.

In March, PHE advised against the use of coronavirus tests in community pharmacies and at home, citing that there was “no published evidence” of their efficacy.

However, some pharmacies are selling home sampling kits, which involve collecting a sample at home that is then processed by an accredited laboratory. Such tests are legal if they have a CE mark.

Last month (April 15), the National Crime Agency (NCA) said it had arrested a pharmacist from Croydon on suspicion of illegally selling coronavirus testing kits.

In the same NCA statement, MHRA head of operations for enforcement Tariq Sarwar said the regulator was “committed to working together with law enforcement to protect public health and prevent unsafe medicines and medical devices getting to the public.”

EXCLUSIVE: Hancock pledges more support for pharmacy but rules out writing off £300m uplift

Pharmacy Business, Pri Mandav, 06 May 2020

Health secretary Matt Hancock has acknowledged the vital role of pharmacists in the pandemic whilst pledging more support for the sector.

“There is a vast proportion of people working in pharmacies from BAME backgrounds. Pharmacy would fall over without these communities,” Hancock told Eastern Eye’s executive editor Shailesh Solanki in an exclusive interview on Tuesday (May 5).

He added: “We are going to put more and more support into pharmacy.”

£300m cash advance

After a number of independent pharmacists complained that they were paying tens of thousands of pounds to keep their businesses afloat during the pandemic, the government announced a £300 million “advance funding” to alleviate their immediate cashflow issues.

While the government announcement was categorical that the cash injection would be “reconciled at a later date,” just days later, the health secretary wrote off £13.4 billion in historical debts for the NHS to help it respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, raising renewed hopes for pharmacists fighting the conronavirus pandemic from the frontline.

Asked if this ‘advance’ could be written off and if he was looking at additional funding for community pharmacy, Hancock said: “Unfortunately, as tempting as it is, the Chancellor of the Exchequer wouldn’t be very pleased if I did that on this call.

“But it is something that I’m working with the pharmacy sector on – how to make sure that pharmacies are sustainable in these really difficult times, and feel supported.

“I get the fact that if people aren’t buying things from the store, which are normally cross subsidised, some of the services that you are giving as part of the pharmacy offer.

“I get the fact that that leads to an extra pressure on the bottom line. It is something that I’m talking to the trade associations about and that we are working on.

“I am very alive to this and I’m alive to the fact that community pharmacies are sometimes the only stores open in some communities. Especially where a GP or a walk-in centre isn’t open during the crisis.

Massive fan of pharmacy

“So, there is an even bigger role for community pharmacies than ever before. I am a massive fan of community pharmacy. There is so much more than they can offer and give everybody.

“They work to the absolute top of their qualifications and there is a bigger role beyond this crisis for community pharmacy.

“If anything, my instinct is to support pharmacies and community pharmacies have been really borne out and my determination to drive that forward has been redoubled and we’ve got to support pharmacy through so there is a strong pharmacy sector coming out of this, ready to serve the nation.”

Reiterating that pharmacy cutbacks did not “happen on my watch,” he noted that his enthusiasm for the sector led him into making it “a big part” of his priority as health secretary.

Media And Political Bulletin – 07 May 2020

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