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Media And Political Bulletin – 22 October 2018

Media and Political Bulletin

22 October 2018

Media Summary

Pharmacists in plea to beat Brexit shortfall

The Times, Sabah Meddings and Tommy Stubbington, 21 October 2018

The Times reported that pharmacists are calling for emergency powers to switch patients to new medications without consulting their GPs in the event of Brexit-induced drugs shortages.

There is growing concern that drug makers will be unable to meet stockpiling requirements before the March 29 Brexit deadline.

The call for extra powers comes ahead of a key meeting of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee on Tuesday to consider the possible impact of a no-deal Brexit. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, and Mike Thompson, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, are among those due to give evidence.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

Pharmacists in plea to beat Brexit shortfall

The Times, Sabah Meddings and Tommy Stubbington, 21 October 2018

Pharmacists are calling for emergency powers to switch patients to new medications without consulting their GPs in the event of Brexit-induced drugs shortages.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) wants the government to give chemists the same powers they would have during a pandemic, allowing them to choose a different drug if the usual prescription were unavailable. Currently, the change needs to be agreed with a patient’s GP.

“We’ve already got shortages in the market,” said Professor Ash Soni, president of the RPS. “We worry that under the circumstances of a no-deal Brexit, there would be issues around a group of drugs that are more significant than they are normally. We need the ability to be able to deal with that rapidly.”

If a drug is not available, doctors often find an alternative brand or generic version. For example, most patients on the blood pressure medication enalapril, sold under the brand name Vasotec, could be given lisinopril instead. However, the two drugs have different guidelines on side-effects and dosage.

Soni said the scale of potential shortages meant it would be “more sensible” to allow pharmacists to make substitutions directly with patients rather than “adding yet more pressure to general practices”.

The call for extra powers comes ahead of a key meeting of the Commons Health and Social Care Committee on Tuesday to consider the possible impact of a no-deal Brexit. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, and Mike Thompson, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, are among those due to give evidence.

There is growing concern that drug makers will be unable to meet stockpiling requirements before the March 29 Brexit deadline.

Steve Bates, head of the Bioindustry Association, which represents the life sciences sector, said: “Some medicines simply can’t be stockpiled. The NHS also needs time to plan, especially if patients switching to different presentations of therapies need to see a healthcare provider before doing so, or need closer monitoring for a period.”

The threat of a no-deal Brexit is also causing growing anxiety among the business community. After last week’s Brussels summit yielded little progress, bosses including Ross McEwan of Royal Bank of Scotland and Dave Lewis of Tesco urged Theresa May to offer reassurances that there will be a deal by Christmas.

Their appeal came during a conference call between the prime minister and about 130 chief executives on Friday.

Lewis told May that a failure to secure “frictionless” trade with the EU could result in food shortages. She reiterated that it was her intention to agree a withdrawal deal at the EU summit in December.

However, business leaders who dialled in to the call said the prime minister had offered “nothing new” on how to overcome the sticking point of the Irish border.

“The speed of negotiations is being outpaced by the reality firms are facing on the ground,” said Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the CBI.

“Unless a withdrawal agreement is locked down by December, firms will press the button on contingency plans. Jobs will be lost and supply chains moved.”

Media And Political Bulletin – 22 October 2018

From Factory to Pharmacy

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