News

Media And Political Bulletin – 08 April 2020

Media and Political Bulletin

08 April 2020

Media Summary

Limiting shortages: steps for the UK to strengthen drug supply

European Pharmaceutical Review, Dr Sam Roscoe, 08 April 2020

The delivery of pharmaceutical products has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus – especially those medicines that address the condition’s symptoms (e.g., paracetamol, aspirin) and the underlying health conditions that the virus exploits (e.g., diabetes medication, asthma inhalers, heart medication).

As the pharmaceutical supply chain is more global than that of standard grocery staples, it has been more affected by COVID-19’s rapid spread around the globe.

Dr Sam Roscoe gives European Pharmaceutical Review his recommendations for pharmaceutical companies and supermarkets in the UK to limit reliance on deliveries from overseas, to ease the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus on drug supply chains.

Emerade 300 microgram pens recall

Dispensing Doctors’ Association, MHRA, 07 April 2020

Dispensing Doctors’ Association reports that Emerade 300 microgram pens (Pharmaswiss Česka republika, an affiliate of Bausch & Lomb UK Limited) are being recalled due to a higher risk of activation failure.

The recall follows a previous alert for Emerade 150 microgram auto-injectors from patients. Emerade 500 microgram auto-injectors are not being recalled.

Affected patients and carers should request a new prescription for an alternative brand. Quarantined or returned Emerade 300 microgram auto-injectors should be returned to suppliers.

The alert also contains information for managing requests during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical groups warn of serious shortages of hydroxychloroquine

Financial Times, Michael Peel, Stephanie Findlay and Donato Paolo Mancini, 07 April 2020

This article is subject to copyright terms and conditions. Please access full article here.

COVID-19: Scottish pharmacies land ‘initial’ £5.5m funding boost

C+D, Valeria Fiore, 07 April 2020

C+D reports that pharmacies in Scotland will receive “an initial package” of £5.5m to help them cover the costs of COVID-19, health secretary Jeane Freeman has announced.

The additional funding “will address [pharmacies’] unparalleled level of activity” in dispensing medicines and providing treatment through the extended Scottish minor ailment service during the crisis, Ms Freeman said at the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 press briefing yesterday. The cash boost will help cover the cost of “equipment, adaptation of premises, additional staffing and locum cover when they have a sickness absence”, Ms Freeman added.

Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) clarified that the extra £5.5m comes on top of the advance payments due for the end of April, which were announced at the end of last month.

 

 

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

Limiting shortages: steps for the UK to strengthen drug supply

European Pharmaceutical Review, Dr Sam Roscoe, 08 April 2020

Dr Sam Roscoe explains his recommendations for pharmaceutical companies and supermarkets in the UK to limit reliance on deliveries from overseas, to ease the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus on drug supply chains.

The delivery of pharmaceutical products has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus – especially those medicines that address the condition’s symptoms (e.g., paracetamol, aspirin) and the underlying health conditions that the virus exploits (e.g., diabetes medication, asthma inhalers, heart medication).

As the pharmaceutical supply chain is more global than that of standard grocery staples, it has been more affected by COVID-19’s rapid spread around the globe. However, placing maximum purchasing regulations in supermarkets on key pharmaceutical products, ensuring that pharma companies reduce their stock lines and encouraging UK producers to significantly increase their production could be vital to guaranteeing medicinal supply to the country and limiting shortages.

Current stresses on the pharma supply chain

Many of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) that are included in the finished formulation of pharmaceutical products are sourced and manufactured in China and then shipped to India for assemblage and packaging. However, when the virus emerged in China it quickly shut down pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, directly impacting medicine supply – not just to India but also to the rest of the world.

While much of China’s manufacturing capabilities are now available for use again, contract manufacturing organisations (CMOs) in India are currently being forced to temporarily shut because of the government mandated lockdown, which will further impact production and disrupt trade.

Pharmaceutical supply chains therefore face two major supply disruptions that have occurred within a three-month period.

Medicinal supply is further restricted due to labour shortages in the wholesale and distribution of generics and other pharma products to UK pharmacies, as well as shortages with pharmacy staff.

Finally, panic buying in the UK has led to a spike in demand for medicines directly linked to the symptoms of COVID-19 and the upper respiratory system. Long, globalised supply chains, with an already disrupted supply, will therefore have difficulty in swiftly responding to these spikes in demand.

The one saving grace is that pharma companies tend to hold significant amounts of inventory in the supply chain, often up to six months – meaning that they can fulfil demand if the panic buying situation stabilises in the next few months by utilising their stockpiles.

However, if excessive demand in the UK is coupled with a decreased supply from India, there could be significant shortages of key medicines in the near future.

Ways to handle a rise in demand

The pharmaceutical industry needs to take instruction from the grocery sector on how to avoid stockouts of key medicines such as paracetamol, aspirin, insulin, heart medication and salbutamol. The first way pharmacies and other retailers could combat this situation would be to immediately introduce maximum purchase quantities.

Secondly, pharma companies could reduce the number of product variations they make, as can be seen at Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s for certain grocery items. For example, instead of having 100ml, 250ml and 500ml bottles of paracetamol that are regular and extra strength, pharma companies could prioritise the manufacture of a standard size bottle of regular strength paracetamol. By reducing product range now, pharma firms would be able to produce larger volumes by having longer production runs. Moreover, pharmacies will reduce the risk of stockouts because they would hold fewer stock-keeping units in stores and would have higher volumes of a particular product type.

Lastly, pharma companies can begin collaborating with UK-based CMOs to ramp up local production volumes.

Conclusion

Taken together, these steps would greatly reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the pharmaceutical supply chain, while also easing delays at border crossings and the likelihood that overseas governments will restrict the export of medications to their own populations.

Emerade 300 microgram pens recall

Dispensing Doctors’ Association, MHRA, 07 April 2020

Emerade 300 microgram pens (Pharmaswiss Česka republika, an affiliate of Bausch & Lomb UK Limited) are being recalled due to a higher risk of activation failure.

The recall of Emerade 300 microgram auto-injectors from patients follows a previous alert for Emerade 150 microgram auto-injectors from patients. The alert notice provides GPs with a letter for affected patients.

Emerade 500 microgram auto-injectors are not being recalled.

Affected patients and carers should request a new prescription for an alternative brand. Quarantined or returned Emerade 300 microgram auto-injectors should be returned to suppliers.

The alert also contains information for managing requests during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical groups warn of serious shortages of hydroxychloroquine

Financial Times, Michael Peel, Stephanie Findlay and Donato Paolo Mancini, 07 April 2020

This article is subject to copyright terms and conditions. Please access full article here.

COVID-19: Scottish pharmacies land ‘initial’ £5.5m funding boost

C+D, Valeria Fiore, 07 April 2020

Pharmacies in Scotland will receive “an initial package” of £5.5m to help them cover the costs of COVID-19, health secretary Jeane Freeman has announced.

The additional funding “will address [pharmacies’] unparalleled level of activity” in dispensing medicines and providing treatment through the extended Scottish minor ailment service during the crisis, Ms Freeman said at the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 press briefing today (April 7).

The cash boost will help cover the cost of “equipment, adaptation of premises, additional staffing and locum cover when they have a sickness absence”, Ms Freeman added.

Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) clarified that the extra £5.5m comes on top of the advance payments due for the end of April, which were announced at the end of last month.

In a statement published today, CPS said that community pharmacy has been “the real frontline in supporting patients within primary care in recent weeks”.

“We have agreed to continue to engage with Scottish Government colleagues to ensure that this is truly recognised in financial terms, as this pandemic continues, as we know it is in policy terms within Government in Scotland,” the negotiator added.

Opening on Easter bank holidays

In the press briefing, Ms Freeman said pharmacies had responded positively to her request for them to stay open on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

“We will meet in full additional costs incurred by community pharmacies to support the NHS at this time,” she added.

CPS acknowledged that this ask is “one that will be difficult for pharmacy teams anticipating a break after a number of challenging weeks”, but said it shows how important community pharmacy is “up and down the country”.

Pharmacies need your support

Ms Freeman concluded her speech with an appeal to the public to ask them to support community pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said: “Pharmacies are working incredibly hard right now. I understand there are times when we are queuing for our medicines or for advice [when] we can become frustrated by those queues.

“But I would ask everyone to please understand that our community pharmacies and our pharmacists are part of the healthcare workforce that I know you support, and they need your support as much as any other part of it does.”

Following confirmation from the Scottish Government, the story was updated today (April 7) to say that the “initial” funding community pharmacies will receive is £5.5m, not £5.3m as it was originally stated by first minister Nicola Sturgeon and health secretary Jeane Freeman at the Scottish COVID-19 press briefing.

This was reported in a number of publications, including P3 Pharmacy.

Media And Political Bulletin – 08 April 2020

From Factory to Pharmacy

As part of our mission to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of the healthcare distribution sector, we developed an infographic explaining the availability of medicines. It identifies the factors that can impact drug supply, as well as the measures that HDA members undertake day in, day out to help mitigate the risks of patients not receiving their medicines.

See the Infographic

Apply to become a Member

Membership of the HDA guarantees your organisation:

  • Access to leading policy and industry forums of debate and discussion
  • Invitations to a range of networking industry events organised through the year, including an Annual Conference and a Business Day
  • Representation on HDA working parties, including the Members’ Liaison Group
  • A daily Political and Media Bulletin and HDA Newsletters
  • Access to HDA policy documents and all sections of the HDA website
  • Branding and marketing opportunities
Apply Now

Already a Member?