News

Media And Political Bulletin – 27 March 2019

Media and Political Bulletin

27 March 2019

Media Summary

Pharmacy leaders react to minister’s resignation

Pharmacy Business, Lakshmi PS, 26 March 2019

Pharmacy Business reports on the pharmacy industry’s reaction to the resignation of Steve Brine over Brexit indicative votes.

The article states that National Pharmacy Association Chief Executive, Mark Lyonette, praised Brine for his willingness to positively engage with the pharmacy industry and expressed hope that he will continue an active interest.

The PSNC said that they were awaiting the news of Brine’s replacement and would continue to have dialogue with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England.

See this also reported in The Pharmaceutical Journal

Sanofi plans to ‘airlift’ flu vaccine into UK in no-deal event

Pharma Times, Anna Smith, 26 March 2019

The Pharma Times reports that in the event of a ‘no-deal’ exit from the European Union, Sanofi has said that it ‘could potentially airlift its flu vaccine into the UK.’

The article states that Hugo Fry, Sanofi’s UK Managing Director, stated that ‘we prepare in different ways and have prepared many different routes into the UK, if we have to in the end, we will airlift it in.’

See this also reported in The Independent.

No-Deal Brexit Planning for Drug Shortages Challenged in Court

Bloomberg, Kaye Wiggins, 26 March 2019

Bloomberg reports that a non-profit group that says Brexit is a “terrible idea” is trying to bring an 11th-hour lawsuit over the U.K. government’s plans for drug supplies if the country leaves the European Union without a deal.

The Good Law Project asked a London court Tuesday for permission to challenge the government proposal to let pharmacists give patients alternative medications to those prescribed by their doctor in some cases, if a no-deal Brexit leads to serious drug shortages.

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons, Tabled and Written Questions, 26 March 2019

Alison Thewliss, MP: What assessment has the Government made of shortages of epilepsy medication in the NHS and is it due to Brexit.

Answered by Matt Hancock: The Government will guarantee the supply of medicines in the event of the Brexit outcome.

Bill Wiggin, MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the 2019 voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing and access affordability mechanism, whether his Department has conducted an impact assessment on how the 36-month exemption of new medicines from contributing to the rebate scheme will affect the NHS’s drug procurement Bill.

Full Coverage

Pharmacy leaders react to minister’s resignation

Pharmacy Business, Lakshmi PS, 26 March 2019

The pharmacy industry has been reacting to news of the pharmacy minister Steve Brine’s resignation over Brexit indicative votes.

Brine, who has held the position since 2017, confirmed the news with a tweet: “Last night I took the difficult decision to step down from my position in Government after almost three years.”

National Pharmacy Association (NPA) Chief Executive Mark Lyonette praised Brine for his willingness to positively engage with the pharmacy industry and expressed hope that he will continue an active interest.

“We will make the case to his successor that the current situation in community pharmacy is unsustainable and needs urgent attention – and that we want to work in partnership to make things better for pharmacists, patients and the NHS. A multi-year funding settlement would help underpin meaningful progress.”

“We continue to build stronger relationships with officials and with the Health Secretary who has agreed to attend the NPA conference in June,” Lyonette said, adding that “our work to help independent pharmacies engage with the NHS at local level will intensify, as we recognise the growing importance of Primary Care Networks in England’s healthcare commissioning infrastructure.”

The Pharmaceutical Service Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said they were awaiting the news of Brine’s replacement and would continue to have dialogue with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England.

“Over the past year we have made considerable progress in rebuilding a constructive working relationship with Government, and as Minister, Steve Brine has been central to that. He regularly expressed his support for community pharmacy in Parliamentary statements and beyond, and we look forward to continuing to work with him as an MP on pharmacy and public health matters.”

“Given the extraordinary situation in Parliament at the moment it is unclear when another minister might be appointed, but as soon as an announcement is made, we will begin the urgent task of building a collaborative relationship with them. I will also today contact the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to restate our ambition to work together collaboratively and to stress the need to take forward our discussions on the future of community pharmacy without delay.”

“We had been expecting a negotiating mandate from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England before Easter and hope that this will still be the case,” Dukes added.

Sanofi plans to ‘airlift’ flu vaccine into UK in no-deal event

Pharma Times, Anna Smith, 26 March 2019

In the wake of Brexit and the event of a no-deal exit from the European Union, French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has said it could potentially airlift its flu vaccine into the UK.

In the event of travel routes such as the Channel Tunnel and ferries becoming disrupted, Hugo Fry, Sanofi’s UK managing director told the BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake up to Money: “We prepare in different ways and have prepared many different routes into the UK, if we have to in the end, we will airlift it in.”

He added: “We are eating the cost of that but patients and citizens are our primary concern, so we’re quite happy to take that cost and make that planning.”

The worry for supply comes as the flu vaccine cannot be stockpiled in the way that some other medicines can, and as the second biggest of three suppliers of flu vaccines in the UK behind Seqirus, Sanofi must put precautions in place to ensure the UK is not short of the vaccine.

The company has warned that whilst it has plans to keep stockpiles of insulin and vaccines in place for 12 months, this is not possible with the flu vaccine.

Mr Fry explained: “You can’t stockpile it because it’s made at a particular time of the year and it’s only available to import in the month at the end of August/beginning of September. We’re doing everything possible to make sure that everyone will get their medicines and vaccines so that they can be reassured and they don’t have to worry about it.”

The flu vaccine is just one in a long line of treatments that could be disrupted post-Brexit. The news comes shortly after it was revealed that delays to cancer testing and treatment will be “inevitable” as a result of a no-deal Brexit.

No-Deal Brexit Planning for Drug Shortages Challenged in Court

Bloomberg, Kaye Wiggins, 26 March 2019

A non-profit group that says Brexit is a “terrible idea” is trying to bring an 11th-hour lawsuit over the U.K. government’s plans for drug supplies if the country leaves the European Union without a deal.

The Good Law Project asked a London court Tuesday for permission to challenge the government proposal to let pharmacists give patients alternative medications to those prescribed by their doctor in some cases, if a no-deal Brexit leads to serious drug shortages.

A victory would show “that there are serious doubts over the lawfulness of what the government says is a key plank of its post ‘No-Deal’ planning for medicine shortages,” the group said on Twitter ahead of Tuesday’s hearing. “Could any responsible government ‘No Deal’ against such a background?”

The lawsuit comes hours after Parliament seized control of the Brexit process from Prime Minister Theresa May, allowing it to vote on a series of alternative strategies for leaving the EU. The U.K. could face an exit from the EU as soon April 12 unless an agreement is found.

Concerns over food and medicine supplies have centered on blockages at ports amid fears that added documentation will lead to backlogs as truck drivers wait to clear customs. As the U.K. relies on just-in-time deliveries, fresh food and vegetables imported from the continent may be in short supply. The government has urged supermarkets and drugmakers to stockpile.

Pharmacists will still be able to choose to refer a patient back to the doctor rather than issuing a different drug, the government said in its filings for the case. If the Good Law Project wins, the U.K. “will be left without an important tool” to “address any serious drug shortages arising, including post-Brexit,” it said.

“The premise for this power is that there’s not enough of the critical medicine to go around, so then what do you do?” James Eadie, the government’s lawyer, said in court. The government’s plans aim to prevent a “lottery” over access to drugs, he said.

Shortages “might arise in days,” depending on events, the Good Law Project’s lawyer Richard Drabble said in court on Tuesday, as he applied for permission to bring the lawsuit. A pharmacist may “know nothing about the medical history of the patient” and yet be able to substitute their drugs, he said.

Judge Michael Supperstone said Tuesday that he’ll rule on the group’s application on Friday, March 29 — the same date that the U.K. was set to leave the EU, until an extension was granted last week.

The Good Law Project is run by Jolyon Maugham, the lawyer behind a landmark ruling allowing the U.K. to change its mind on Brexit.

The government’s plans were made in a way that was “so rushed and inadequate as to render it unlawful,” the group said in its filings.

Media And Political Bulletin – 27 March 2019

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