News

Media And Political Bulletin – 14 February 2019

Media and Political Bulletin

 14 February 2019

Media Summary

The ‘life-threatening’ reality no-deal Brexit poses for patients and their medical supplies

ITV News, Emily Morgan, 13 February 2019

ITV News’ Health Correspondent Emily Morgan undertakes a video report on the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on patients and their medical supplies. She speaks to Matt Hancock; Wockhardt’s Managing Director, Sirjiwan Singh; Georgina Tankard, a patient suffering from breast cancer; Dr Jeanette Dickson, Vice Chair of the Royal College of Radiologists; and senior oncologist, Clive Peedell.

The full footage of the video report can be accessed here.

Diazepam diversion to criminal market down by 73 percent

Pharmacy Business, Lakshmi PS, 13 February 2019

Pharmacy Business reports that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on Tuesday issued an organised crime update and it indicates that trading of Diazepam from the legal supply chain to the criminal market is now down by 73 percent.

Recent figures into bulk orders of diverted medicines also record a drop in the trading of Nitrazepam by 30 percent, top strength Temazepam by 18 percent and Zolpidem by 18 percent.

The MHRA launched a key investigation into the diversion of medicines from the legal supply chain in 2016, estimated to be worth up to £200 million.

WHO warns of falsified leukaemia drugs made from paracetamol

Pharmacy Business, Lakshmi PS, 13 February 2019

Pharmacy Business reports that the WHO has issued a medical product alert notifying patients, pharmacists and doctors of falsified versions of Iclusig 15 mg and Iclusig 45 mg circulating across Europe and the United States.

Genuine Iclusig contains Ponatinib Hydrochloride as the active pharmaceutical ingredient and it is used to treat different forms of leukaemia. The drug is priced at around £5,000 a pack in the UK in 2017. It is confirmed that the fake products do not contain Ponatinib but instead have paracetamol.

With medicine tracking operational, what does this mean for industry?

In-PharmaTechnologist.com, Ben Hargreaves, 13 February 2019

Hugh Pullen, EMVO’s president, explains what the launching of the EMVS means for the industry, and details how a potential no-deal Brexit will impact the system.

This content is copyright protected. The full article can be accessed here.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

Commons Tabled Written Questions – 13 February 2019

Bambos Charalambous (Enfield, Southgate): To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has in place to (a) (i) monitor and (ii) identify gaps in the medicines being stockpiled by pharmaceutical companies and (b) protect the supply of medicines not being stockpiled by pharmaceutical companies.

Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West): To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019on the supply of medicines to the UK for NHS use.

House of Lords Question – 13 February 2019

Lord Taylor of Warwick – asked on: 30 January 2019 to the Department for Exiting the European Union: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to prioritise imports of medicine in their post-Brexit trading arrangements, in the event of a no-deal scenario.

Lord Callanan – answered on 13 February 2019: DHSC are working closely with life sciences industry and the NHS to make detailed plans to ensure continued access to medicines and devices in all scenarios.

We are working with industry to reroute supplies that make use of freight capacity acquired by Government. Medicines and medical products will be prioritised within this additional capacity to ensure that the flow of all these products will continue unimpeded after 29 March 2019. In addition, we are working with pharmaceutical companies to ensure that there is a minimum of six weeks additional supply of medicines in the UK, over and above existing business-as-usual buffer stocks.

 

Full Coverage

The ‘life-threatening’ reality no-deal Brexit poses for patients and their medical supplies

ITV News, Emily Morgan, 13 February 2019

Video report by ITV News Health Correspondent Emily Morgan

An awful lot has been written about what would happen if we crash out of the EU with no-deal.

So much so, that many are accusing the doomsayers of scaremongering and undoubtedly there may be some.

But in one area, medicine, there is a strong belief that the warnings aren’t scaremongering but reasoned and legitimate concerns.

A few months ago the Department of Health and Social Care recommended all pharmaceutical companies stockpile six weeks worth of medicine.

They have made it very clear everything is being done to ensure medication doesn’t run out and they have plans in place to honour that.

The problem is the oncologists we have spoken to want more detail.

They have cancer patients due to start radiotherapy and, would you believe it, all the isotopes used in certain treatments come from Europe.

Will flights carrying the nuclear medicine still be allowed in?

And crucially, if they are, will they get held up at customs?

Radioactive medicine loses effectiveness overtime so every minute counts.

Granted, this might affect a small number of patients, but they are patients none the less, who need this treatment and thus, need more detail on how the supply chain will continue unhindered.

Responding to the concerns, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told ITV News that he has ordered planes to be on standby to deliver time-sensitive supplies – such as medical radioisotopes – if lorries are held up.

“I’m confident if everybody does what they need to do – that includes resolving those transport issues – there will be that unhindered supply that everybody wants to see,” he said.

“We are doing the hard work now, whatever the scenario, to make sure the NHS will be strong and secure.”

Of course, it’s not just fear about isotopes but all medication.

Cancer drugs, insulin, medical equipment, even as we heard at the weekend, body bags, are all being stockpiled.

Wockhardt is one of the largest generic pharmaceutical companies in the world.

With over 350 products, the company supplies its own brands to hospitals, supermarkets, pharmacies and retailers.

On Wednesday, they let us film inside one of their warehouses where they are stockpiling medicine.

It’s the first time a pharmaceutical company has allowed TV cameras in, to see their stockpiles and it suddenly brought home what is going on.

The company’s Managing Director, Sirjiwan Singh, says it’s a prudent measure because it makes business sense but also because he doesn’t want to see patients lose out on their drugs.

Their warehouse has double the amount of drugs it usually holds, costing Mr Singh an extra £10 million pounds which he doesn’t expect to get back.

There are strict restrictions on drug prices so he won’t be passing the costs on.

Mr Singh has about four months worth of antibiotics, anti-diabetic drugs, bovine insulin and many more.

He’s taking no chances and says he’d be surprised if other firms weren’t doing the same.

Such measures are only partly reassuring for Georgina Tankard.

She has breast cancer and not only needs radiotherapy in a few weeks time but will also need hormone treatment drugs afterwards.

She wants to know why patients like herself should suffer because politicians can’t exit the EU in an orderly manner.

Ms Tankard says it is shameful there is uncertainty around the cancer drugs she needs, since she didn’t ask for Brexit, or indeed cancer.

She wants to know what will happen after the six weeks if stockpiled medicines run out, and nothing is resolved?

It’s a legitimate question.

Patients are being told that if there is a supply problem with their medication, pharmacists will be allowed to prescribe a different treatment.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anxiety.

Dr Jeanette Dickson, Vice Chair of the Royal College of Radiologists, is not convinced the Government will be able to solve the problems a no-deal Brexit could create in the time frame.

Senior oncologist, Clive Peedell, goes further.

He told us lives will be put at risk if there’s a no-deal.

Any delays at borders to radio-pharmaceutical agents could be life-threatening to patients.

He says this isn’t scaremongering, it’s a reality.

Diazepam diversion to criminal market down by 73 percent

Pharmacy Business, Lakshmi PS, 13 February 2019

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on Tuesday issued an organised crime update and it indicates that trading of Diazepam from the legal supply chain to the criminal market is now down by 73 percent.

Recent figures into bulk orders of diverted medicines also record a drop in the trading of Nitrazepam by 30 percent, top strength Temazepam by 18 percent and Zolpidem by 18 percent.

“Selling medicines outside of the supply chain is a serious criminal offence and the latest figures and the reduction is in diversion shows our determination to protect public health,” Alastair Jeffrey, MHRA Head of Enforcement, said.

As of February 2019, 32 investigations have been initiated and 86 suspects have been either arrested or interviewed under caution. 13 wholesale dealers have had their licenses discontinued or terminated and the General Pharmaceutical Council have suspended 8 pharmacists.

“The expansion of our operation shows we will continue to track down and prosecute those recklessly endangering public safety by illegally selling prescription medicines,” Jeffrey added.

MHRA launched a key investigation into the diversion of medicines from the legal supply chain in 2016, estimated to be worth up to £200 million.

WHO warns of falsified leukaemia drugs made from paracetamol

Pharmacy Business, Lakshmi PS, 13 February 2019

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a medical product alert notifying patients, pharmacists and doctors of falsified versions of Iclusig 15 mg and Iclusig 45 mg circulating across Europe and the United States.

Genuine Iclusig contains Ponatinib Hydrochloride as the active pharmaceutical ingredient and it is used to treat different forms of leukaemia. The drug is priced at around £5,000 a pack in the UK in 2017.

It is confirmed that the fake products do not contain Ponatinib but instead have paracetamol.

The pharmaceutical companies Takeda and Incyte are the genuine manufacturers or market authorization holders for Iclusig in the regions which the above fake versions have been discovered to date. Both the companies confirmed to WHO that they did not manufacture or supply these products. Batch numbers PR072875 and 25A19E09 do not correspond to genuine manufacturing records.

“If you have taken this falsified product, or if you suffer an adverse event or an unexpected lack of efficacy, please seek immediate advice from a qualified healthcare professional, and ensure they report the incident to your local Ministry of Health/National Medicines Regulatory Authorities/National Pharmacovigilance Centre,” WHO directed through an alert.

National health authorities are asked to immediately notify WHO if these falsified products are discovered.

With medicine tracking operational, what does this mean for industry?

In-PharmaTechnologist.com, Ben Hargreaves, 13 February 2019

Hugh Pullen, EMVO’s president, explains what the launching of the EMVS means for the industry, and details how a potential no-deal Brexit will impact the system.

This content is copyright protected. The full article can be accessed here.

Media And Political Bulletin – 14 February 2019

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