News

Media And Political Bulletin – 18 November 2019

Media and Political Bulletin

18 November 2019

 

Media Summary

DHSC issues multiple drug supply alerts

Pharmacy Business, Lakshmi PS, 15 November 2019

Pharmacy Business reports that the DHSC has issued multiple medicine supply notifications regarding the shortages of Minims Phenylephrine eye drops, Disopyramide capsules, Pethidine, Provera and Ethinylestradiol and Norethisterone tablets.

Revealed: NHS running short of dozens of lifesaving medicines

The Guardian, Diane Taylor, 18 November 2019

The Guardian has learned that the NHS is running short of “dozens of lifesaving medicines,” including treatments for cancer, heart conditions and epilepsy.

The article states that an internal 24-page document circulated to some doctors last Friday from the medicine supply team at the DHSC, headed “commercial-sensitive,” listed many drugs currently hit by shortages at the NHS.

The document listed 17 new drug shortages identified last week including drugs for cancer, Parkinson’s, mental health problems and some eye conditions. It also identified ongoing issues with 69 different types and doses of medication including antibiotics for tuberculosis, diamorphine, various cancer drugs, heart condition drugs, Hepatitis vaccines and anti-epilepsy drugs.

See this also reported in the Daily Mail.

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today.

Full Coverage

DHSC issues multiple drug supply alerts

Pharmacy Business, Lakshmi PS, 15 November 2019

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has issued multiple medicine supply notifications regarding the shortages of Minims Phenylephrine eye drops, Disopyramide capsules, Pethidine, Provera and Ethinylestradiol and Norethisterone tablets.

Minims Phenylephrine 2.5% and 10% w/v eye drops will be out of stock from the end of November 2019 until early January 2020 as Bausch & Lomb is experiencing supply issues across its Minims Phenylephrine range.

Prescribers are asked to switch to unlicensed supplies of preservative-free phenylephrine eye drops in both strengths.

Pethidine 50 mg tablets by Teva and Martindale are out of stock until December 2019. Teva anticipates resupply in the week commencing December 2 and Martindale in mid-December 2019.

In case of insufficient supplies, clinicians were advised to obtain specialist advice from local pain teams or substance misuse teams, on alternative agents or weaning. Prescribers are also suggested to consider prescribing the unlicensed 50mg capsules.

Mylan, the sole supplier of Disopyramide 150mg capsules, is experiencing a delay in their resupply date. The capsules are out of stock until around December 13, 2019.

The supplies of this medicine are available from specialist importers on an ‘unlicensed basis’.

The sole supplier of Provera tablets, Pfizer, is also facing manufacturing delays and the drug is out of stock for 100mg and 200mg tablets.

Provera 100mg tablets are out of stock until December 13, 2019, while the 200mg tablets are out of stock until December 20.

Provera 400mg tablets are now available, but the department warned that the manufactures cannot support an increase in demand.

Unlicensed imports of Medroxyprogesterone 100mg tablets are equivalent to the UK licensed product.

Ethinylestradiol and Norethisterone (Synphase) tablets are also out of stock until December 20, 2019. Other brands of oral contraceptive tablets such as Logynon, Logynon ED or TriRegol will remain available during this period.

Prescribers are also suggested to consider prescribing a non-phasic oral contraceptive or an unlicensed import of Synphase tablets.

If a prescriber wishes a pharmacist to dispense an import, DHSC advises to annotate such prescriptions as ‘specials/unlicensed’ in the prescribing line and endorse as follows:

  • Quantity dispensed
  • Pack size
  • Price per pack less any discount/rebate
  • Manufacturer/importer MHRA license number
  • Batch number
  • Specials procurement fee endorsement of ‘SP‘

Revealed: NHS running short of dozens of lifesaving medicines

The Guardian, Diane Taylor, 18 November 2019

The NHS is running short of dozens of lifesaving medicines including treatments for cancer, heart conditions and epilepsy, the Guardian has learned.

An internal 24-page document circulated to some doctors last Friday from the medicine supply team at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), headed “commercial-sensitive”, listed many drugs currently hit by shortages at the NHS.

The document warned: “This information is confidential to the NHS, please do not upload to websites in the public domain.”

The document listed 17 new drug shortages identified last week including drugs for cancer, Parkinson’s, mental health problems and some eye conditions. It also identified ongoing issues with 69 different types and doses of medication including antibiotics for tuberculosis, diamorphine, various cancer drugs, heart condition drugs, Hepatitis vaccines and anti-epilepsy drugs. Eight drugs have been discontinued and supply issues with over 20 drugs, where there were previous shortages, have now been resolved.

The document said that because there are shortages of many licensed medicines, in some cases unlicensed versions may be imported although “lead times vary”.

While shortages of some drugs have been reported previously, doctors have said that the breadth of conditions identified in the list obtained by the Guardian was “unprecedented”.

The document told doctors that some patients would have to be prioritised over others for some lifesaving drugs, a form of drug rationing.

In some cases the document recommended breaking tablets in half, in others finding a way to share dwindling supplies.

While some drugs for which there are shortages have alternatives which could be prescribed, others did not. Switching patients from one drug to another is not always straightforward or safe.

A spokesman at the Association for the British Pharmaceutical Industry said: “For new on-patent medicines there is an agreement between the government and pharmaceutical companies to cap NHS spending growth on branded medicines at 2%, with anything over this paid back to the government. Manufacturers know that any medicine shortage is extremely worrying for the people affected by it and they do everything they can to prevent medicine supply problems occurring and to resolve them quickly if they do happen.”

A spokeswoman for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said: “Medicine shortages are an increasing problem. A range of factors are responsible for shortages, such as manufacturing problems, global demand for medicines and fluctuations in the exchange rate. At the moment pharmacists are working incredibly hard to get the medicines patients need. Pharmacists spend hours tracking down stock and working together to help patients.”

The DHSC has been approached for comment.

Media And Political Bulletin – 18 November 2019

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?