News

Media and Political Bulletin – 21 May 2020

Media and Political Bulletin

21 May 2020

Media Summary

Pharmacy minister confirms availability of home testing kits for pharmacy staff, their kin

Pharmacy Business, Pri Mandav, 20 May 2020

Pharmacy Business reports that symptomatic pharmacy staff and members of their household can order home testing kits for coronavirus, pharmacy minister has confirmed.

Jo Churchill said that deliveries of PPE packs were made to around 11,500 community pharmacies in England in March, and that “Further, supplies of PPE have been distributed to wholesalers and distributor networks supplying community pharmacies.”

Churchill said: “We understand the financial pressure of COVID-19 on community pharmacy which is why £300 million in extra advance payments have been made available to alleviate initial cash flow pressures.”

Superdrug antibody test sells out hours after launch

P3 Pharmacy, Pharmacy Network News, 20 May 2020

P3 Pharmacy reports that a coronavirus antibody test launched by Superdrug earlier today is already listed as unavailable on the company’s website due to high demand.

The home testing kit is being sold from Superdrug’s Online Doctor service but is not available in the company’s stores. To obtain the test, patients over 18 are required to fill out a questionnaire on the company’s website. If eligible, they can pay to have a kit mailed to them along with instructions on how to take a pinprick blood sample.

Parliamentary Coverage

The UK Government has released a document on the UK’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Brexit: Government confirms new checks on goods entering NI from GB

BBC, John Campbell, 20 May 2020

BBC reports that the government has confirmed there will be new checks on some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK as part of the Brexit deal. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Gove emphasised that trade from NI to GB would remain “unfettered”.

The government said there would not need to be any new paperwork for almost all GB-NI trade, including what are known exit summary declarations. The EU has previously suggested these declarations will be needed so this could be a point of dispute.

The Protocol does not mention pharmaceuticals, medicines or medicine devices.

Full Coverage

Pharmacy minister confirms availability of home testing kits for pharmacy staff, their kin

Pharmacy Business, Pri Mandav, 20 May 2020

Symptomatic pharmacy staff and members of their household can order home testing kits for coronavirus, pharmacy minister has confirmed.

The confirmation came just as the government announced that anyone with symptoms of coronavirus was eligible to book a test.

Due to the ongoing social distancing measures, members of parliament have resorted to sending written questions to ask ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments. Pharmacy has been featuring prominently in the new world of a virtual House of Commons.

In a reply on Tuesday (May 19) to a written question from Erith and Thamesmead MP Abena Oppong-Asare, Jo Churchill said that testing could now be done through a self-referral online portal via this link.

“Symptomatic pharmacy staff, or symptomatic member(s) of their household, are eligible for testing through the self-referral online portal where they are able to order home delivery testing kits,” she confirmed.

PPE provision for pharmacy

Responding to the provision of personal protective equipment for pharmacy staff, the minister noted that deliveries of PPE packs were made to around 11,500 community pharmacies in England in March.

“Further, supplies of PPE have been distributed to wholesalers and distributor networks supplying community pharmacies,” she added.

“Where there remains an urgent need for additional PPE stock, community pharmacies should contact their Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) who can provide supplies to respond to local spikes in need.

“For those who are critically short of PPE, they should phone the National Supply Distribution Response for an urgent delivery. We will continue to work in ensuring that community pharmacies have access to PPE.”

Additional funding

Earlier, responding to a question from Hyndburn MP Sara Britcliffe on “additional funding to pharmacies,” Churchill said: “We understand the financial pressure of COVID-19 on community pharmacy which is why £300 million in extra advance payments have been made available to alleviate initial cash flow pressures.

“The Government has also provided additional funding to community pharmacy to cover costs associated with Bank Holiday opening at Easter and the Early May Bank Holiday and the new medicine delivery service commissioned for shielded patients, as well as making a contribution towards measures taken by community pharmacy to support social distancing.

“We continue to work with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and NHS England and NHS Improvement to examine what further funding community pharmacy may require to continue to supply medicines and to help their communities stay well.”

This was days before the government announced an increase in Category M drugs reimbursements of £15 million in June.

Superdrug antibody test sells out hours after launch

P3 Pharmacy, Pharmacy Network News, 20 May 2020

A coronavirus antibody test launched by Superdrug earlier today is already listed as unavailable on the company’s website due to high demand.

Superdrug announced this morning it had begun selling Abbott’s Covid-19 antibody test – the second to be approved by the UK Government after one developed by Roche – for £69, making it the first UK multiple to market an antibody test.

The Abbott test is said to have 97.5 per cent sensitivity and 100 per cent specificity, meaning it will not give a positive result if a patient has not previously had coronavirus and developed antibodies for the virus. It is being sold on other websites for £100.

The home testing kit is being sold from Superdrug’s Online Doctor service but is not available in the company’s stores. To obtain the test, patients over 18 are required to fill out a questionnaire on the company’s website. If eligible, they can pay to have a kit mailed to them along with instructions on how to take a pinprick blood sample.

The patient then mails their sample to be assessed. “The results of your test should be ready within two days after our partner lab receives your sample,” the Superdrug website says.

Patients with possible coronavirus symptoms are advised to wait 14 days to allow antibodies to develop before taking the test.

Unavailable due to high demand

However, this afternoon the product was listed as ‘currently unavailable’ just hours after the launch was first announced, with the website explaining this was “due to the high demand of orders”. Individuals wishing to purchase a test can email the chain to be put on a waiting list.

‘Positive result does not confer immunity’

Superdrug doctor ambassador Dr Zoe Williams said: “Now that Public Health England have approved certain antibody tests, it is great that Superdrug are offering the validated test to its customers.

“There are, however, things to consider before taking it. Receiving a positive antibody test result does not confer immunity. And it is important that people understand a positive test result does not mean you can be any more relaxed with the required hygiene and social distancing measures as set out by the government.”

Media and Political Bulletin – 21 May 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

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