News

Media And Political Bulletin – 15 July 2019

Media and Political Bulletin

15 July 2019

Media Summary

Health Minister visits Alliance service centre

Pharmacy Business, Lakshmi PS, 12 July 2019

Pharmacy Business reports that Health Minister Stephen Hammond on Thursday visited the Chessington service centre of Alliance Healthcare, calling it a ‘fascinating experience’. Hammond was hosted by Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA) Executive Director Martin Sawer during his visit to the HDA member service centre.

Alliance Healthcare UK Managing Director, Julian Mount, greeted both Sawer and the minister and gave them a service centre tour. The minister witnessed how the centre delivers vital medicines to pharmacies and hospitals, and was given a demonstration of procedures required under the recently introduced Falsified Medicines Directive.

“It is apparent to me that healthcare distributors are pivotal in ensuring that all GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals are kept fully stocked with the medicines they need to keep their patients healthy,” Hammond said.

‘No guarantee’ of drugs supply after Brexit

The Times, Kieran Andrews, 15 July 2019

The Times reports that the SNP’s Brexit minister has said the supply of medicines cannot be guaranteed in Scotland if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.

Mike Russell said that arrangements had been in place with the British government to ensure continuity of supplies for the original Brexit date of March 31, but preparations for the new deadline of October 31 had not been finalised. Pushing back the date closer to Christmas has caused problems with finding storage space for stockpiled supplies, and companies are less willing to prepare having already wasted money in the spring.

Asked whether he could guarantee that all necessary medicines would be available in Scotland after a no-deal Brexit, Mr Russell told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland: “You can’t absolutely guarantee that, no.”

Brexit: ‘No guarantee’ of medicines if no EU deal agreed

BBC News, 14 July 2019

BBC News reports that Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell has said he cannot absolutely guarantee the supply of medicine to Scotland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

He told the Sunday Politics Scotland programme that plans for a no-deal have been disrupted by delays to Brexit and the Conservative leadership race.

Companies will not repeat their March stockpiling efforts, he claimed.

MHRA warns patients about potential failure of Emerade adrenalin auto-injectors

The Pharmaceutical Journal, 12 July 2019

The Pharmaceutical Journal reports that in a class 4 drug alert, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has warned some Emerade adrenaline auto-injectors may fail to deliver a dose of adrenaline from the syringe owing to a blockage in the needle.

The issue was first detected in June 2018 during routine stability testing of the syringe component of Emerade; however, it was thought that it had the potential to affect just 1.5 in every 10,000 pens and was therefore a “rare event”. Bausch and Lomb, which manufactures Emerade, has now said that the potential occurrence of needle blockage in batches on the market was higher than first estimated and could affect 2.3 in every 1,000 pens.

The alert applies to Emerade devices of all strengths (150 micrograms, 300 micrograms and 500 micrograms), but not to other marketed brands of adrenaline auto-injectors.

This was also reported in Pharmacy Business.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

Health Minister visits Alliance service centre

Pharmacy Business, Lakshmi PS, 12 July 2019

Health Minister Stephen Hammond on Thursday visited the Chessington service centre of Alliance Healthcare and called it a ‘fascinating experience’.

Hammond’s visit to the Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA) member service centre was hosted by HDA executive director Martin Sawer.

Alliance Healthcare UK managing director, Julian Mount, greeted both Sawer and the minister and gave them a service centre tour.

The minister, who is an MP from Wimbledon, witnessed how the centre delivers vital medicines to pharmacies and hospitals across the south and south-east of England including his own constituency.

He also observed the semi-automated warehouse in full swing with orders being picked and packed ready for afternoon delivery.

“It was a fascinating experience to see how the operations worked. It is no mean feat for customers to receive two deliveries a day, five days a week and one on Saturday. It is apparent to me that healthcare distributors are pivotal in ensuring that all GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals are kept fully stocked with the medicines they need to keep their patients healthy,” Hammond said.

The minister was also given a demonstration of procedures required under the recently introduced falsified medicines directive.

“It was a pleasure to welcome the minister following his keynote address at the recent HDA Annual Conference where he thanked the distribution sector for the vital role it plays in ensuring the safe and consistent supply of healthcare products and medicines to patients across the UK. It is particularly reassuring the Minister continues to recognise the important role our members have played in the complex preparations for a no-deal Brexit,” said Martin Sawer.

‘No guarantee’ of drugs supply after Brexit

The Times, Kieran Andrews, 15 July 2019

The supply of medicines cannot be guaranteed in Scotland if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, the SNP’s Brexit minister has said.

Mike Russell said that arrangements had been in place with the British government to ensure continuity of supplies for the original Brexit date of March 31, but preparations for the new deadline of October 31 had not been finalised.

Pushing back the date closer to Christmas has caused problems with finding storage space for stockpiled supplies, and companies are less willing to prepare having already wasted money in the spring.

Asked whether he could guarantee that all necessary medicines would be available in Scotland after a no-deal Brexit, Mr Russell told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland: “You can’t absolutely guarantee that, no.

“We made arrangements with the UK government in March we felt would last for three to six months, which meant that most things were available and there were substitutes. One of the biggest jobs undertaken was to find substitutes for things that wouldn’t be available and that was a massive job. It was undertaken by both governments and it was by and large successful, we were confident then.

“That work has still to be finalised because it has changed, for example the availability of warehousing has changed. The drug companies themselves are very, very reluctant to be involved in the deep way they were before. They will in the end I think do so, but all companies involved in stockpiling took big losses in March.”

Mr Russell said that leaving the European Union without a deal would be disastrous and repeated his call for another referendum on membership.

The Scottish government has been criticised for failing to pass on funding from a £37 million no-deal package from Westminster to Police Scotland or councils but paying for legal advice on forests. According to the government’s budget revision, it spent only £27 million directly on Brexit-related activities. No money was made available to the police or local authorities but £4.8 million was allocated to pay for more civil servants and £60,000 was given to the Forestry Commission.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care said: “Our priority is for all patients to continue to have access to medicines and medical products when we leave the EU. We are working with industry and other stakeholders to continue robust no-deal contingency planning for supply after October 31.

“We are confident that if everyone does what they need to do, the supply of medicines and medical products should be uninterrupted.”

Brexit: ‘No guarantee’ of medicines if no EU deal agreed

BBC News, 14 July 2019

Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell has said he cannot absolutely guarantee the supply of medicine to Scotland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

He told the Sunday Politics Scotland programme that plans for a no-deal have been disrupted by delays to Brexit and the Conservative leadership race.

Companies will not repeat their March stockpiling efforts, he claimed.

The UK government said it was “confident” about the supply of medicine and medical products.

Mr Russell said: “The drug companies themselves are very reluctant to be involved in the deep way they were before.

“They will in the end I think do so.

“But all companies involved in stockpiling took big losses in March.”

‘Exit preparedness’

In June, the UK government made a written ministerial statement to parliament which updated on its “EU Exit preparedness”.

Health minister Stephen Hammond made a further written statement in February on plans to ensure the supply of medicines and medical products.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Our priority is for all patients to continue to have access to medicines and medical products when we leave the EU.

“We are working with industry and other stakeholders to continue robust no deal contingency planning for supply after 31 October.

“We are confident that if everyone does what they need to do, the supply of medicines and medical products should be uninterrupted.”

Cost factor

Mr Russell said he remained concerned about the impact of Brexit on the wider economy.

He believed many businesses were unable to invest in rebuilding stock levels for the second time in a year.

“They’ve been drawing down these stockpiles,” he said.

“I was at an agricultural merchant some months ago where they showed me 200,000 Euros worth of a chemical they had had stockpiled.

“And they simply said they wouldn’t do it again because they couldn’t afford to do it again.”

MHRA warns patients about potential failure of Emerade adrenalin auto-injectors

The Pharmaceutical Journal, 12 July 2019

Some Emerade adrenaline auto-injectors may fail to deliver a dose of adrenaline from the syringe owing to a blockage in the needle, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has warned in a class 4 drug alert.

The issue was first detected in June 2018 during routine stability testing of the syringe component of Emerade; however, it was thought that it had the potential to affect just 1.5 in every 10,000 pens and was therefore a “rare event”.

Bausch and Lomb, which manufactures Emerade, has now said that the potential occurrence of needle blockage in batches on the market was higher than first estimated and could affect 2.3 in every 1,000 pens.

The alert applies to Emerade devices of all strengths (150 micrograms, 300 micrograms and 500 micrograms), but not to other marketed brands of adrenaline auto-injectors.

Lynne Regent, chief executive of the charity The Anaphylaxis Campaign, said it recognised this as a “very difficult time” for patients who carry Emerade auto-injectors.

“We would like to take this opportunity to remind all individuals who are prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector to always carry two devices at all times,” she said.

The MHRA said that it would not be recalling batches of Emerade and that the manufacturer had conducted “extensive investigations and has implemented corrective actions”.

Emerade manufactured with all the corrective processes is expected to be introduced into the market from mid-July 2019.

This was also reported in Pharmacy Business.

Media And Political Bulletin – 15 July 2019

From Factory to Pharmacy

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