News

Media And Political Bulletin – 17 October 2018

Media and Political Bulletin

17 October 2018

Media Summary

Pharmacists turning patients away as flu vaccination supplies dwindle

The Pharmaceutical Journal, Emma Wilkinson, 16 October 2018

The Pharmaceutical Journal reports that ‘staggered deliveries of the adjuvanted trivalent flu vaccine, Fluad, have left pharmacies and GP short of supplies, resulting in members of the public seeking vaccination being turned away.’

The article states that Sibby Buckle, a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board and a pharmacist in Derby, said despite her pharmacy having 80 vaccines delivered at the start of October, they were gone within days.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons, Tabled and Written Questions, 16 October 2018

Tom Brake, MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the next Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme considers combination treatments for cancer to be cost-effective.

Answered by Steve Brine: The Government is committed to supporting the United Kingdom life sciences industry and ensuring that patients can access cost-effective, innovative cancer treatments and technologies at a price the National Health Service can afford. Discussions on a branded medicines voluntary agreement for 2019 onwards are ongoing and are constructive.

Tim Farron, MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to make pharmacies (a) aware and (b) prepared for the implementation of the Falsified Medicines Directive by February 2019.

Answered by Steve Brine: The Government has been working closely with a wide variety of stakeholders impacted by the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), including community pharmacy, to raise awareness and support preparation for implementation. We have established an Implementation Advisory Board and the FMD Communications Group to ensure the views of all stakeholders are heard and our messages are being disseminated. This has included regular newsletters and speaking at various external events. We have also worked closely with the United Kingdom FMD working group for community pharmacy to develop sector specific guidance and communications and NHS Digital has produced technical guidance to support implementation decisions.

Tim Farron, MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to provide financial support for independent pharmacies after the implementation of the Falsified Medicines Directive by February 2019.

Answered by Steve Brine: Financial support for community pharmacies providing National Health Service pharmaceutical services, including independent pharmacies, in respect to the implementation of the Falsified Medicines Directive, is a devolved matter and will be subject to the usual negotiations.

Tim Farron, MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to assist independent pharmacies in the purchase of the (a) hardware and (b) software required by the implementation of the Falsified Medicines Directive.

Answered by Steve Brine: The Department has supported the development of sector specific guidance for implementation of the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) to support pharmacies, including independent pharmacies, in understanding their obligations when making hardware and software purchases. NHS Digital has been working with stakeholders and system suppliers to provide information on minimum technical specifications, as well as benefits beyond the FMD. A community pharmacy toolkit, with the different options open to pharmacies in implementing the FMD, has been produced by NHS Digital.

Full Coverage

Pharmacists turning patients away as flu vaccination supplies dwindle

The Pharmaceutical Journal, Emma Wilkinson, 16 October 2018

Pharmacists across England have been forced to turn patients away after running out of the new enhanced flu vaccine for those aged over 65 years.

Staggered deliveries of the adjuvanted trivalent flu vaccine (aTIV) have meant that gaps in supply are causing logistical problems for pharmacists across the UK.

And while many pharmacists are following guidance to refer these patients to other providers in the event that they have no vaccine stock, local GP surgeries are having the same problem.

Seqirus, the manufacturer of the aTIV Fluad vaccine, agreed to phase deliveries of its product following talks with NHS England, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and the British Medical Association, with 40% being delivered in September, 20% in October and 40% in December 2018.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation concluded in October 2017 that aTIV was more effective in people aged over 65 years, but NHS England and Public Health England only informed pharmacists and GPs of vaccine ordering rules in February 2018.

Sibby Buckle, a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board and a pharmacist in Derby, said despite her pharmacy having 80 vaccines delivered at the start of October, they were gone within days.

“We’re turning away 20 patients per day at the moment because we don’t have any vaccine — and the GPs have the same problem,” she said.

“We are told we’re getting some more at the end of [October], so currently we are rebooking people in for November.”

Buckle added that more older people were coming to pharmacies to ask for the aTIV vaccine, owing to greater awareness and because it was often more convenient for them to use a walk-in service than book at a GP surgery.

In a letter to healthcare professionals, NHS England said Seqirus had confirmed sufficient availability of the Fluad vaccine to meet anticipated demand, and it said it was safe to move local supplies around as long as temperature regulations were followed.

Hitesh Patel, chief officer of City and Hackney Local Pharmaceutical Committee said he had tried to develop a spreadsheet so local pharmacists and GPs could see who had stock and when, but it had proved difficult to keep it up to date.

“Most pharmacists have run out because of the staggered supply,” he said.

“We have been told we have ordered enough — in London anyway — the problem is we don’t know who has stock at the moment.”

He said supply problems were a cause for concern and there was always a risk that patients who had been turned away would not return to the pharmacy to get the vaccination at another time.

Nat Mitchell, pharmacist and director of JWW Allison and Sons pharmacy in Cockermouth, Cumbria, deliberately over-ordered supplies in anticipation of greater numbers of people seeking the vaccination this year, but has still been left short of supply.

“I am getting more … so it’s not been too bad but we have had to change our system and reserve vaccine for people so they can come back,” he said.

Mitchell added that athough it was causing problems for patients, he had not lost any business as the local GP did not have any stocks of Fluad either.

“We did expect this to happen and I wrote an article in a local newsletter to prepare people, but it is unprecedented,” he warned.

Media And Political Bulletin – 17 October 2018

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