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Media And Political Bulletin – 29 October 2018

Media and Political Bulletin

29 October 2018

Media Summary

Last Tuesday, the Health and Social Care Select Committee received oral evidence from Pharmaceutical Chiefs, including HDA’s Executive Director, Martin Sawer, on the Impact of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. Read the full transcript of the evidence session here.

Pharmacy finding it ‘very difficult’ to make ‘detailed preparations’ for Brexit, warns NPA

Pharmacy Business, Neil Trainis, 26 October 2018

Pharmacy Business reports that the National Pharmacy Association has warned that the pharmacy sector is ‘finding it very difficult to make detailed preparations’ for the UK’s departure from the EU as London and Brussels continue to work towards a deal.

The body said that concerns over the supply of medicines merited the re-establishment of the Medicines Supply Chain Forum which was set up to give pharmacies better information on developments in the supply chain.

Stating that ‘this was something Healthcare Distribution Executive Director, Martin Sawer, called for during a Commons Select Committee,’ the article states that the NPA also said that the government’s contingency plan to get manufacturers to stock six weeks’ of additional medicines to avert shortages was ‘insufficient’ and insisted pharmacists should be allowed to substitute medicines for other medicines with the same active ingredient without referral to patients’ GPs.

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today.

Full Coverage

Pharmacy finding it ‘very difficult’ to make ‘detailed preparations’ for Brexit, warns NPA

Pharmacy Business, Neil Trainis, 26 October 2018

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has warned that the pharmacy sector is finding it “very difficult” to make “detailed preparations” for the UK’s departure from the European Union as London and Brussels continue to work towards a deal.

With a no-deal Brexit remaining a distinct possibility, uncertainty has clouded several health-related issues including whether community pharmacies will be able to access a smooth supply of drugs for their patients and whether the Falsified Medicines Directive will even apply to pharmacies in the UK post-Brexit.

The NPA said concerns over the supply of medicines merited the re-establishment of the Medicines Supply Chain Forum which was set up to give pharmacies better information on developments in the supply chain.

The NPA also said the government’s contingency plan to get manufacturers to stock six weeks’ of additional medicines to avert shortages was “insufficient” and insisted pharmacists should be allowed to substitute medicines for other medicines with the same active ingredient without referral to patients’ GPs.

That was something Healthcare Distribution Association executive director Martin Sawer called for during a Commons health committee hearing on the likely impact of a no-deal scenario on health and social care.

“Community pharmacists and everyone in the medicines supply chain, need certainty as soon as possible in order to prepare appropriately to meet patient need,” the NPA said.

“Timely supply of medicines is important to patient wellbeing, so maintaining a safe and effective medicines supply service will continue to be our primary focus. With this in mind, it is important that there continues to be effective movement of medicines and medical devices across borders with the European Union.

“Government has asked manufacturers and wholesalers to ensure they have a minimum six weeks’ additional supply in the UK as buffer stock in case the UK leaves the EU next March with no-deal and without a transitional agreement.

“By itself, this is an insufficient contingency to deal with the potential disruption that might occur. Certainly, the risk of localised disruption to supply remains.

“To mitigate against this, community pharmacists should be permitted to use their clinical judgment to meet patient demand, substituting medicines in short supply for other medicines with the same active ingredients without the need for referral back to a GP. This is a relatively straightforward contingency in the event of no deal.”

The NPA also called for pharmacies to be able to share medicines with other pharmacies to avoid shortages, again echoing Sawer’s remarks to the committee.

“This flexibility was available to pharmacies until a few years ago and should be re-introduced,” the NPA said.

“As these measures may require changes to regulations, we urge the government to engage with us immediately on the matter. Whatever the Brexit scenario that finally emerges, pharmacists will put the needs of patients first, as they always do.”

Media And Political Bulletin – 29 October 2018

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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