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Media and Political Bulletin – 26 May 2020

Media and Political Bulletin

26 May 2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules

  • qualified persons and responsible persons for human medicines, clinical trials and pharmacovigilance
  • a worker with specialist technical skills, where those specialist technical skills are required for essential or emergency works or services (including commissioning, maintenance, and repairs and safety checks) to ensure the continued production, supply, movement, manufacture, storage or preservation of goods

Media Summary

Community chemists tell Boris Johnson they face financial ruin over higher drugs bills and PPE costs

The Times, Oliver Wright, 26 May 2020

The Times reports that hundreds of community chemists have warned Boris Johnson in a letter that they face financial ruin over higher drug bills and costs for PPE that is free to other parts of the health service.  Small pharmacies were given the cash to help them deal with the coronavirus crisis, but many have been operating at a loss over the past three months.

Mark Lyonette, head of the National Pharmacy Association, said that many of his members would have been “better off if they’d closed their doors to the public” and were bearing a “heavy burden” for their role in tackling the crisis.

Community chemists were given £300 million in government loans that the Treasury are now trying to reclaim. In the weeks before the lockdown was announced pharmacists were struggling because of customers stockpiling medicines. This led to wholesale price increases of many prescription medicines above the amount they are reimbursed by the NHS.

Parliamentary Coverage

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Full Coverage

Community chemists tell Boris Johnson they face financial ruin over higher drugs bills and PPE costs

The Times, Oliver Wright, 26 May 2020

Hundreds of community chemists have warned Boris Johnson that they face financial ruin over government moves to claw back £300 million in loans.

Small pharmacies were given the cash to help them deal with the coronavirus crisis but many have been operating at a loss over the past three months.

A letter to the prime minister signed by more than a thousand pharmacists states that they have faced higher drug bills, overtime payments and costs for personal protective equipment that is free to other parts of the health service.

Some pharmacists have reported that they have struggled to obtain sufficient PPE and at least five pharmacy staff have died as a result of Covid-19.

Mark Lyonette, head of the National Pharmacy Association, said that many of his members would have been “better off if they’d closed their doors to the public” and were bearing a “heavy burden” for their role in tackling the crisis.

Senior industry sources said that there was huge frustration at ministers paying tribute to them in public while the Treasury was trying to reclaim the £300 million.

In the letter the pharmacists, making clear they stayed open while many GP practices were closed, ask Mr Johnson to intervene and warn that they are on the brink of collapse.

“Local community pharmacies have stayed open, continuing to see patients and supply vital medicines,” they write. “We are putting ourselves at risk every day to help keep Britain healthy. While we welcome recent comments from the government recognising the role that pharmacies are playing, we need to see these supportive words backed up with further concrete action.”

Although pharmacies were allowed to stay open, retail sales only amount to about 10 per cent of total revenues and many have reported a drop in sales during the period.

The £300 million was handed over because in the weeks before the lockdown was announced pharmacists were struggling because of customers stockpiling medicines. This led to wholesale price increases of many prescription medicines above the amount they are reimbursed by the NHS.

More recent NHS payments do not make up for the shortfall of what pharmacies have already spent on drugs and, they claim, they are in effect being asked to subsidise the health service.

Media and Political Bulletin – 26 May 2020

From Factory to Pharmacy

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