Media and Political Bulletin – 27 August 2020

Media and Political Bulletin

27 August 2020

Media Summary

CEOs make government Brexit deal plea after Covid cash squeeze curbs stockpiling

Evening Standard, Alex Lawson, 26 August 2020

The Evening Standard reports that industry bosses have called on Government to agree a post-Brexit deal, warning that the cash crunch caused by coronavirus had left businesses unable to stockpile, with talks between the UK and EU having stalled last week. The next round of negotiations kicks off on September 7th, with October the deadline for an agreement to be ratified before the end of the transition period this year.

David Watson, ABPI’s interim executive director for commercial policy, said the industry needed support from Government to plan an end to the transition period, after months of strain to ensure drugs to treat Covid patients were still available.

He said: “Detailed guidance is still urgently required from Government on issues like freight capacity, ferry routes and the Northern Ireland Protocol. Coronavirus has only strengthened our belief that the best possible outcome is for both sides to reach a deal that includes an MRA to protect patients and public health.”

The pharmaceutical industry has called for negotiators to seek a Mutual Recognition Agreement – which would see both sides accept each other’s drug safety testing and inspections before export –in order to avoid duplication, supply chain disruption or delays to patient access to medicine.

PSNC asks government for ‘urgent uplift’ in pharmacy funding

P3 Pharmacy, Pharmacy Magazine, 26 August 2020

P3 Pharmacy reports that the PSNC has said it has put the case to health minister Jo Churchill for “an urgent uplift” in funding for the community pharmacy contractual framework.

“(This) has been an extremely challenging year for community pharmacies. They have done an incredible job in meeting the increasing health needs of their patients [..] but the financial toll that this tremendous effort has taken on pharmacy businesses of all shapes and sizes is now being felt, and PSNC’s job is to make that case effectively to (the) government,” said PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes.

“Now that the initial health emergency has passed, all PSNC Committee Members are focused on the financial emergency facing their businesses.”

Mr Dukes said the PSNC had given the government “comprehensive data” on the cost of the pandemic to pharmacies and said the £370m in advance funding given to pharmacies in England during the outbreak should be written off.

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today.

Full Coverage

CEOs make government Brexit deal plea after Covid cash squeeze curbs stockpiling

Evening Standard, Alex Lawson, 26 August 2020

Industry bosses today called on Government to thrash out a post-Brexit deal, warning that the cash crunch caused by coronavirus had left businesses unable to stockpile.

Manufacturers, retailers and their suppliers are facing the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, but without the firepower to stockpile to ensure goods continue to flow as they did last year before an anticipated cliff-edge Brexit.

Talks between the UK and EU stalled last week. The next round of negotiations kicks off on September 7 with October the deadline for an agreement to be ratified before the end of the transition period this year.

The ADS, which represents more than 1100 UK businesses operating in the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors, warned a “disruptive Brexit is an unwelcome additional challenge” to a sector thrown into crisis by the grounding of the aviation industry in lockdown.

ADS chief executive Paul Everitt said: “Supply chain companies across the UK are focused on survival and the crisis has put severe pressure on cashflow, restricting their ability to rebuild the stockpiles that were their primary mitigation measure.

“It is important that the Government and the EU work to reach a deal that avoids any further damage. A no-deal Brexit would cause industry in the UK and in Europe further damage.”

Retailers could also be squeezed, as the Covid outbreak has deterred shoppers from physical stores, and ratcheted up demand for warehouse space to service online customers.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retailers continue to face unprecedented challenges after months of store closures, slow sales and increased costs. As the end of the transition period draws closer, retailers are working incredibly hard to mitigate the disruption that is likely to arise from leaving the EU single market.

“However, with retailers focused on preparing for the all-important golden quarter, warehouses will be at full capacity in the run up to Christmas leaving little room to build up additional supplies ahead of the 1st January. A no-deal Brexit at the end of the year would result in price increases from tariffs and reduced consumer choice.”

The issue is likely to affect any industry with “just in time” speedy supply chains. The Food and Drink Federation has said suppliers impacted by the closure of the hospitality industry may struggle if they don’t have the cash to stockpile short shelf-life ingredients or finished products.

Security of supply of medicines has been a key issue for Government, and this month Steve Oldfield, chief commercial officer at the Department of Health wrote to suppliers asking them to “stockpile to a target level of six weeks’ total stock on UK soil”.

David Watson, ABPI’s interim executive director for commercial policy, said the industry needed support from Government to plan an end to the transition period, after months of strain to ensure drugs to treat Covid patients were still available.

He added: “Detailed guidance is still urgently required from Government on issues like freight capacity, ferry routes and the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“Coronavirus has only strengthened our belief that the best possible outcome is for both sides to reach a deal that includes an MRA to protect patients and public health.”

The pharmaceutical industry has called for negotiators to seek a Mutual Recognition Agreement – which would see both sides accept each other’s drug safety testing and inspections before export–in order to avoid duplication, supply chain disruption or delays to patient access to medicine.

PSNC asks government for ‘urgent uplift’ in pharmacy funding

P3 Pharmacy, Pharmacy Magazine, 26 August 2020

The PSNC has said it has put the case to health minister Jo Churchill for “an urgent uplift” in funding for the community pharmacy contractual framework.

While talks are ongoing with the Government over funding and services, the negotiator announced today that it has told Churchill, whose health brief includes community pharmacy, that the five-year deal needed to contain more money.

The agreement was struck in July last year and saw funding frozen at £2.592bn annually from 2019-20 to 2023-24.

The PSNC also said talks have begun on contractors’ remuneration for costs related to the Covid-19 pandemic and revealed a hepatitis C testing service was “imminent” while it was expected that the discharge medicines service will start in January.

Details on the 2020-21 flu vaccination service have not yet been released but the PSNC said those should be published before the service commences on Tuesday.

The PSNC also said discussions on extending referrals to the community pharmacy consultation service from GP practices have resumed after talks were interrupted by the pandemic.

“(This) has been an extremely challenging year for community pharmacies. They have done an incredible job in meeting the increasing health needs of their patients and providing a walk-in clinical advice service for their local communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. As well as helping people in need, this has supported other primary care and NHS services during a critical time,” said PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes.

“But the financial toll that this tremendous effort has taken on pharmacy businesses of all shapes and sizes is now being felt, and PSNC’s job is to make that case effectively to (the) government.

“As contractors and LPCs know, during the initial pandemic peak in the UK, PSNC was working round the clock to finalise new services and arrangements that supported contractors through the lockdown period – emergency funding injections, flexibility in opening hours, and a new national delivery service were some of the key outputs from the negotiations at that time.

“Now that the initial health emergency has passed, all PSNC Committee Members are focused on the financial emergency facing their businesses.”

Mr Dukes said the PSNC had given the government “comprehensive data” on the cost of the pandemic to pharmacies and said £370m in advance funding given to pharmacies in England during the outbreak should be written off.

“Although ministers have heaped praise on the sector throughout the pandemic, many officials still question the value of pharmacies and this is what PSNC and others are working hard to convince them of,” Mr Dukes said.

“We are also increasingly working alongside our GP negotiating colleagues to share leverage where we can. I know that it is incredibly frustrating for contractors as they await the outcomes of these business critical conversations, but do not mistake a failure to make fast agreements for a lack of activity.

“We have been and will continue to do all that is needed to battle for the best deals and for fair treatment of community pharmacies at every stage.

“If that means rejecting offer after offer from (the) government and doing all that we can to reach a satisfactory position on every single negotiating point, then that is what we will keep doing.”

Media and Political Bulletin

30 May 2020

HDA Statement regarding the availability of Public Health England-supplied PPE for community pharmacy

The Healthcare Distribution Association would like the community pharmacy sector to be aware that the stocks of Public Health England (PHE) PPE masks recently supplied by the Association’s member wholesalers to pharmacies, for staff use only, have now almost completely run out.  HDA member companies are awaiting a new sale event to be announced by Public Health England.

In the meantime, the Department of Health & Social Care has told HDA:

“We have extended our PPE supply route to Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) to help distribute stock to organisations outside of the NHS supply chain who have the highest need clinically and other services that would have a high priority need for PPE including Pharmacists.

Over 7 million more items of PPE have been delivered over the last week to the LRFs identified as being in the highest need of resupply. We will continue to make drops of PPE for distribution by the LRFs to meet some priority need until the new e-commerce solution is operational.

We will continue to make releases to wholesalers when stocks permit.

If providers are unable to access PPE through these routes and have an urgent need, they should contact the National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) helpline to request emergency support. The 24/7 freephone number is 0800 915 9964.”

This statement about PHE-supplied PPE masks excludes the fact that individual HDA wholesalers may be able to obtain some supplies of appropriately certified PPE masks from their own sources.

Media Summary

Community pharmacies need £200m extra to stay afloat during COVID-19, trade body warns

The Pharmaceutical Journal, Carolyn Wickware, 29 April 2020

The Pharmaceutical Journal reports that a trade body has warned that community pharmacies need £200m extra to stay afloat during COVID-19.

Despite the government’s £300m advance payments, Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, said: “The funding has not reflected on the inflation and costs going up. And with all the extra workload related to the unprecedented situation with COVID-19, many are struggling to keep their heads above the water and desperately need funding.”

Hannbeck added that the funding “needs to be extra, and on a regular basis, to help with the additional costs and cashflow impacts”.

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Lords – Written Question, 28 April 2020

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure there is an adequate supply of medicine, including anaesthetic drugs, to enable urgent cancer surgery to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full Coverage

Community pharmacies need £200m extra to stay afloat during COVID-19, trade body warns

The Pharmaceutical Journal, Carolyn Wickware, 29 April 2020

Exclusive: Pharmacy negotiators are pressing the government to allow the sector to keep £300m it is receiving in advance payments in England.

Community pharmacies need millions of pounds extra “to keep their heads above water” during the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacy bodies have warned.

Speaking to The Pharmaceutical Journal, Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, said each pharmacy needed an extra £10,000 in both April and May 2020, in addition to the government’s £300m advance payments, which are due to be paid back.

In March 2020, the Pharmaceutical Service Negotiating Committee (PSNC) announced that it had secured the loan, which was to be paid to pharmacies in two instalments — one payment of £200m at the beginning of April 2020 followed by the remaining £100m in May 2020. The PSNC has now said that it is pressing the government in negotiations to allow pharmacies to keep the advance payments.

Hannbeck said the loan was “welcome”, but “in total was about £200m short”.

“The funding has not reflected on the inflation and costs going up. And with all the extra workload related to the unprecedented situation with COVID-19, many are struggling to keep their heads above the water and desperately need funding,” she said.

Hannbeck added that the funding “needs to be extra, and on a regular basis, to help with the additional costs and cashflow impacts”.

She said the organisation had asked its pharmacy contractors “to send to us the sort of costs that have occurred in March [2020] in relation to COVID-19 alone”, which was then sent to the PSNC to help them calculate how much the sector needed from the government.

Mark Lyonette, chief executive of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), said his organisation had surveyed members to ascertain the costs associated with the pandemic, adding that the NPA expected “to do another survey of members in May to cover April [2020 costs] and possibly June to cover May [2020]”.

“Some of those costs — like the extra staffing costs, with people being off, security screens, personal protective equipment (PPE) — those are ongoing,” he said. “It’s not as though you can say this is what happened in March [2020] and that’s that. In reality, this is something that will need to be sorted each month.”

Lyonette added that pharmacies will be spending “many, many tens of millions of pounds” each month to stay open, adding that the NPA was worried about pharmacy closures.

“If cashflow was a problem for people — and they were worried about paying their wholesaler bills beforehand — it is only getting worse,” he said. “You just have to hope that the government doesn’t learn that by too many falling over the edge.”

Their comments come after trade bodies — including the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) — said the £300m loan would not prevent pharmacy closures and would “only just cover half of the estimated uplift in prescription items” in March 2020.

In a statement sent to The Pharmaceutical Journal on 22 April 2020, Malcolm Harrison, chief executive of the CCA, noted that community pharmacies have likely “had to spend many tens of millions of pounds extra in order to keep its doors open”.

“In March, the chancellor of the exchequer committed in parliament that: ‘Whatever extra resources our NHS needs to cope with coronavirus — it will get’,” Harrison said.

“Community pharmacy has been on the frontline for the NHS during the crisis and it needs government support to continue in this vital role.”

The CCA added that the extra funding will be needed to cover the cost of rising medicine prices, which it said is partly owing to patients requesting medicines that they have not used for many years.

With the £800m retained margin agreed upon being based on a forecasted volume of items, the CCA warned that the additional volume could dilute this available funding.

The organisation added that the additional money was needed to cover the costs of PPE, which contractors have had to self-fund owing to shortages, as well as staff overtime, extra cleaning and security.

Pharmacists — who are unable to deliver face-to-face services –— have also lost funding through usual channels, such as the new medicines service and medicines use reviews.

Simon Dukes, chief executive of the PSNC, told The Pharmaceutical Journal that it could not comment on its confidential funding negotiations with the government, but said that the Committee “absolutely agrees that community pharmacy needs additional funding to cover the costs of COVID-19”, as the £300m loan “has not relieved all of the financial pressures that pharmacies are under and many contractors will not be able to afford to pay this back”.

“We are, therefore, pressing for the £300m advance to be reconciled and not repaid to help cover costs associated with increased prescription numbers; extra staff costs from the increased demands for advice and medicines, covering for sickness and the rise in locum rates; and one-off costs, such as decontaminating pharmacies when someone infected had visited,” he said, adding that the PSNC has warned the government “that without additional monies for the sector, the current situation is not sustainable”.

In a letter published on 17 March 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement committed to reimbursing clinical commissioning groups for NHS urgent medicines supply services and medicines delivery services offered in community pharmacies, as well as reimbursing payments to contractors required to close owing to the pandemic.

The Pharmaceutical Journal has approached the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.

Media and Political Bulletin

05 March 2020

Media Summary

Hub and spoke dispensing Bill progresses

Dispensing Doctors’ Association, Ailsa Colquhoun, 05 March 2020

Dispensing Doctors’ Association reports that hub and spoke dispensing by independent pharmacies is a step closer to becoming reality following the second reading of the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill. Other aspects of the Bill, which is broadly supported by opposition MPs and which has passed without division, include the following:

  • New provisions for digital pharmaceutical labelling
  • Legislation relating to the safety of online pharmacies
  • Legislation covering medicine brokerage
  • Increase non-medical prescribing
  • Create a UK register of medical devices

‘Brexit buffer’ of medicines mean UK is ‘well prepared’ for coronavirus

LBC, 04 March 2020

LBC reports that as the number of cases of coronavirus grows within the UK and worldwide concerns have been raised over potential shortages to vital medicines, the DHSC has said there are currently no drug shortages as a result of coronavirus.

They added that the country is well prepared to deal with any impacts of the coronavirus and there are stockpiles of generic drugs like paracetamol in the event of any supply issues.

Meanwhile, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said that a “Brexit buffer” of medicines was stockpiled in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which means the UK is “well prepared” for any potential shortages.

 

 

Parliamentary Coverage

Patients asked to return Emerade 150 micrograms adrenaline pens

MHRA, 04 March 2020

Patients, or carers of patients, who carry Emerade 150 microgram auto-injector pens should return all in-date Emerade 150 micrograms auto-injectors to their local pharmacy once they have obtained a prescription for, and been supplied with, an alternative brand.

Recall action has been taken due to reports of difficulty in activating the Emerade pens, meaning a dose of adrenaline cannot be delivered. This defect also affects the 300 and 500 microgram strengths of Emerade adrenaline pens, which will be recalled when sufficient supplies of alternative brands (Epipen and Jext) are available.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Shortages – Written question

Jonathan Ashworth (Leicester South): To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendation of 7 February 2020 by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, if he will convene a working group with industry, regulatory agencies and professional bodies to tackle the HRT shortages.

Jo Churchill (answered on 04 March 2020): We are in regular discussions with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) supply issues and are currently reviewing their proposal to convene a working group with industry, regulatory agencies and professional bodies to tackle this supply issue.

We continue to work with the Royal College as well as a number of other stakeholders including the National Health Service, the pharmaceutical industry, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the British Menopausal Society and the Facility of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare to resolve HRT supply issues as quickly as possible. The overall supply situation will start to improve from the end of February 2020.

 

Full Coverage

Hub and spoke dispensing Bill progresses

Dispensing Doctors’ Association, Ailsa Colquhoun, 05 March 2020

Hub and spoke dispensing by independent pharmacies has taken a step closer to reality following the second reading of the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill.

Other aspects of the Bill, which is broadly supported by opposition MPs and which has passed without division, include the following:

  • New provisions for digital pharmaceutical labelling
  • Legislation relating to the safety of online pharmacies
  • Legislation covering medicine brokerage
  • Increase non-medical prescribing
  • Create a UK register of medical devices

Responding for the Opposition, Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth called for a “robust and sophisticated mechanism to evaluate app-based healthcare for use in the NHS” and stated that at the Public Health Committee stage, his party would look to strengthen regulation relating to health apps. The Public Bill Committee is expected to report to the House by Thursday 23 April.

‘Brexit buffer’ of medicines mean UK is ‘well prepared’ for coronavirus

LBC, 04 March 2020

Health officials have said preparations for a no-deal Brexit mean the UK is “well prepared” to resolve any potential medicine shortages due to coronavirus.

As the number of cases of coronavirus grows within the UK and worldwide concerns have been raised over potential shortages to vital medicines.

Indian authorities have restricted the export of 26 medicines – including one of the world’s most commonly used pain relief medications, paracetamol.

But the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that there are currently no drug shortages as a result of coronavirus.

The body said there are stockpiles of generic drugs like paracetamol “in the event of any supply issues”.

Meanwhile, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said that a “Brexit buffer” of medicines was stockpiled in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which means the UK is “well prepared” for any potential shortages.

“There are currently no medicine shortages as a result of Covid-19,” a DHSC spokeswoman said.

They added that the country is well prepared to deal with any impacts of the coronavirus and there are stockpiles of generic drugs like paracetamol in the event of any supply issues.

Sandra Gidley, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: “The Government recently acknowledged that whilst there is little evidence to suggest that supply chains have been affected as a result of restrictions in movement in China, precautionary steps are being taken to help ensure supply to the UK remains uninterrupted.

“The Brexit buffer of medicines that was created in preparation for a no-deal means that the UK is well prepared for any potential medicine shortages and has been able to stockpile to maintain access to medicines.

“As far as individuals are concerned, buying extra medicines when they are not needed is never a good idea as it can contribute towards potential shortages. Talk to your pharmacist if you have any concerns about your medicines. They already manage various shortages of medicines on a daily basis and work hard to get patients the medicines they need to keep them well.”

Media and Political Bulletin

25 April 2018

Media Summary

Lords to debate on the long term sustainability and funding of NHS

Pharmacy Business, Kiran Paul, 24 April 2018

 

Pharmacy Business reports that the House of Lords will this week debate a report from the Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS. The report was critical of the successive governments, slamming their ‘short sightedness’ in planning the long-term future of the health service and adult social care.

The debate attains particular significance as it comes in the wake of a letter from the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to Tory MPs, seeking their help in resolving the funding crisis of the NHS.

A number of peers with a background in healthcare and health policy are due to speak in the debate scheduled to begin tomorrow.

 

 

Pharmacy minister says government willing to open negotiations on new pharmacy contract

The Pharmaceutical Journal, Julia Robinson, 23 April 2018

 

The Pharmaceutical Journal highlights that pharmacy minister Steve Brine has recently revealed that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will open negotiations on moving from a community pharmacy contract that rewards the dispensing of higher volumes of medicines to one that rewards care provided for patients.

A letter to the All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) confirming that negotiations would begin came in response to correspondence from Kevin Barron, chair of the APPG, sent earlier this year. Brine wrote that he was interested in the APPG’s work looking at community pharmacy and the management of long-term conditions.

Barron said he welcomed the pharmacy minister’s reply and said it represented “a strong indication” that the DH will come to the negotiating table with a real ambition to develop services that make the best use of the community pharmacy network for patients and the NHS.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons, Tabled Written Questions – Department of Health, 24 April 2018

 

Frank Field MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that stocks of medicines that are in short supply are distributed equitably and proportionately amongst community pharmacies.

Frank Field MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) competitiveness and (b) effectiveness of the wholesale pharmaceutical market to provide an affordable supply of medicines for patients.

Luciana Berger MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what plans his Department has to support the maintenance of links between regulators, research ethics committees, researchers and the pharmaceutical industry in the UK and the European Medicines Agency after the UK leaves the EU.

Tim Farron MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that patients can promptly access drugs if the UK is no longer a member of the European Medicines Agency during any transition period after the UK leaves the EU.

Answered by Jackie Doyle-Price: During the implementation period, the United Kingdom will no longer be a Member State of the European Union, but market access will continue on current terms. We will continue to have access to drugs at the same time as countries within the EU, and the UK will continue to participate in and have access to European Medicines Agency (EMA).

In regard to the future relationship, the Prime Minister’s Mansion House speech outlined that we will also explore the terms on which the UK could remain part of the EMA. While it would not be appropriate to pre-judge the outcome of the negotiations we will discuss with the EU and Member States how best to continue cooperation in medicines regulation.

Tim Farron MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 23 April 2018 to Question 136501, how the Government plans for the UK to participate in the European Medicines Agency during the transition period after the UK leaves the EU.

 

Full Coverage

Lords to debate on the long term sustainability and funding of NHS

Pharmacy Business, Kiran Paul, 24 April 2018

 

The House of Lords will this week debate a report from the Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS. The report was critical of the successive governments, slamming their  ‘short sightedness’ in planning the long-term future of the health service and adult social care.

The debate attains particular significance as it comes in the wake of a letter from the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to Tory MPs, seeking their help in resolving the funding crisis of the NHS.

A number of peers with a background in healthcare and health policy are due to speak in the debate scheduled to begin on on April 26, Thursday.

Lord Naren Patel, the chairman of the Committee and a professor of obstetrics & consultant obstetrician, described the report as one of the most comprehensive analyses of the long-term sustainability of the NHS.

“We were interested in the future of the NHS 15-20 years into the future, not the five year planning schedule which has dominated healthcare policy in the UK for too long. We heard from over 100 witnesses in person and received more than half a million words of written evidence,” he said in a statement.

He expressed his disappointment in the late response to the report by the government, which came in February this year. The committee published its report in April 2017. The response was also “not as considered as we would have expected,” he added.

Lord Patel, at the same time, credited the government for adopting a key recommendation in the report, by making the Health Secretary responsible for both health and social care, helping in better integration.

He also welcomed “recent reports of a long-term funding plan for the NHS,” but maintained that “this will not solve anything unless a sustainable future for social care is also secured.”

Secretary Hunt, in a letter dated April 20 and addressed to Tory MPs stressed the need to move away from the “annual top-ups to the NHS budget towards a sustainable long-term plan.”

He added that this has to be done by building on the work of the Five Year Forward View, a major reform programme initiated by the government, but also by looking beyond it. The government, as announced by Prime Minister Theresa May, will come up with such a long term plan this year itself, he said in the letter.

Hunt urged colleagues to come forward with ideas on the long term funding and reform issues, informing them that he has begun meeting group of MPs as part of the preparations of this plan.

Health activists described the letter as sign of movement and asked the politicians to show ‘courage and leadership’ on the issue.

“We are starting to see signs of movement from government and politicians more widely on a challenge we have long argued is the most pressing domestic issue of our age. This is an opportunity for the government and politicians on all sides to show courage and leadership,” commented Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare system.

“The NHS is facing a funding and workforce crisis which means the next decade must be very different from the last. Any long-term funding settlement must bring health and care together and move away from short-term cash injections that do not enable transformation,” he pointed out.

Pharmacy minister says government willing to open negotiations on new pharmacy contract

The Pharmaceutical Journal, Julia Robinson, 23 April 2018

Brine wrote to the All-Party Pharmacy Group confirming his interest in their work looking at community pharmacy and the management of long-term conditions.

Pharmacy minister Steve Brine has revealed that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will open negotiations on moving from a community pharmacy contract that rewards the dispensing of higher volumes of medicines to one that rewards care provided for patients.

A letter to the All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) confirming that negotiations would begin came in response to correspondence from Kevin Barron, chair of the APPG, sent earlier this year. Brine wrote that he was interested in the APPG’s work looking at community pharmacy and the management of long-term conditions.

Barron said he welcomed the pharmacy minister’s reply and said it represented “a strong indication” that the DH will come to the negotiating table with a real ambition to develop services that make the best use of the community pharmacy network for patients and the NHS.

“It’s been a long-standing aim of the [APPG] to move towards a contract that incentivises high quality care, rather than volumes of pills,” said Barron.

“It’s vital, now, that pharmacy and government put their heads together and commission the most effective services,” he added.

In his letter, Brine also acknowledged the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee’s (PSNC) proposals for the development of community pharmacy services, including the introduction of a care plan service, with pharmacists supporting patients with long-term conditions, as part of a new Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework.

The proposals were discussed at the PSNC’s January 2018 meeting, and put to the DHSC and NHS England.

“PSNC’s ambition is to move to a funding framework that fairly rewards community pharmacies for offering a wide range of patient care and services including the dispensing of medicines,” said PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe.

“This is in line with the sector’s shared vision for its future, and would include allowing pharmacies to offer more patient care, particularly for people with long-term conditions,” she added.

“The minister has given no detail on what the substance of our negotiations with the DHSC and NHS England for 2018/2019 will be, but we hope that we will be able to have substantive discussions on the future of community pharmacy.”

HDA UK Members to Circulate NHS England’s Stay Well Campaign Materials

London, 16 February 2018 –  The Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK) has continued its long running partnership with NHS England, by agreeing to circulate materials for its Stay Well campaign that promotes the use of community pharmacies.

HDA members will distribute for free the campaign’s toolkit that will encourage patients to use community pharmacy as the first point of call for minor ailments such as sore throats, coughs, colds and stomach complaints. The toolkit will include up to date clinical information that can help pharmacists manage the conditions highlighted in the campaign.

The toolkits will be delivered as part of HDA members’ just in time distribution service, that enable patients to access the right medicines, in the right place, at the right time. The materials will begin arriving in pharmacies from 12th February and are another example of healthcare distributors forming the hidden backbone of the medicines supply chain across the UK.

-END-

About the Healthcare Distribution Association

The Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK)  represents  those  businesses  who  supply  medicines, medical   devices   and   healthcare   services   for   patients,   pharmacies,   hospitals,   doctors   and   the pharmaceutical industry. HDA UK members operate across the 4 nations of the United Kingdom enabling a safe, efficient and high-quality supply chain for the healthcare sector.  They are responsible for distributing over 92% of NHS medicines and provide wholesaling services including working capital, stock management and IT systems to their supply chain partners. Formerly known as the British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW), the Association rebranded in February 2016 to better reflect the evolving healthcare supply chain, as innovative practices and technologies make new services possible for manufacturers and to those who dispense medicines, reflecting the needs and choices of individual patients.

Media and Political Bulletin

13 February 2018

Media Summary

Take sick children to pharmacies first, parents told

BBC News, 12 February 2018

 

The BBC reports on a new NHS England campaign which urges parents of young children with minor illnesses to take them to pharmacies rather than GPs or A&E. It follows a survey which found just 6% of parents with under-fives would go to a pharmacist first.

NHS England said visits to GPs and A&E for these “self-treatable” conditions, like stomach ache, cost £850m a year.

NHS England’s Stay Well Pharmacy campaign is urging people to visit their local pharmacist first to help save the service money and free up time for the sickest patients.

It said each year there were about 18 million GP appointments and 2.1 million visits to A&E for so-called self-treatable conditions – costing the service the equivalent of more than 220,000 hip replacements or 880,000 cataract operations.

The Stay Well campaign was also reported by PSNC.

 

Brine announces medicine safety initiative as error defence approaches

Chemist and Druggist, Grace Lewis, 12 February 2018

 

Chemist and Druggist highlights a recent announcement by Steve Brine in which he has said that the government will launch a new “medication safety initiative” in the “coming months”.

Mr. Brine said the initiative will “bring more focus on reducing prescribing and medication errors across the health system”.

“This programme will build on existing work to develop our understanding of how best to educate and inform patients about their medicines, as well as how we use technology such as electronic prescribing and medicine administration systems,” he added.

Mr Brine also reaffirmed that he is “personally committed” to seeing the legal defence for pharmacists and their staff from criminal prosecution for an inadvertent dispensing error become law.

 

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Take sick children to pharmacies first, parents told

BBC News, 12 February 2018

Parents of young children with minor illnesses should take them to pharmacies rather than GPs or A&E, a new NHS England campaign says.

It follows a survey which found just 6% of parents with under-fives would go to a pharmacist first.

NHS England said visits to GPs and A&E for these “self-treatable” conditions, like stomach ache, cost £850m a year.

But parents should not be put off seeing a doctor, a patients’ group said.

GPs’ leaders said parents of children with a very high temperature that doesn’t go away should still seek help from a medical expert.

‘Skilled clinicians’

NHS England’s Stay Well Pharmacy campaign is urging people to visit their local pharmacist first to help save the service money and free up time for the sickest patients.

It said each year there were about 18 million GP appointments and 2.1 million visits to A&E for so-called self-treatable conditions – costing the service the equivalent of more than 220,000 hip replacements or 880,000 cataract operations.

Its survey of more than 2,000 people in England found 35% of parents of children under five would go to a GP if their child had a minor illness, such as earache, diarrhoea or stomach ache, while 5% would go directly to A&E.

The NHS survey also found that only 16% of adults would go to a pharmacist first if they were similarly unwell.

There are some 2.1 million visits a year to A&E for self-treatable conditions, the NHS says

Dr Bruce Warner, deputy chief pharmaceutical officer for NHS England, said: “Pharmacists are highly trained NHS health professionals who are able to offer clinical advice and effective treatments for a wide range of minor health concerns right there and then.

“They can assess symptoms and recommend the best course of treatment or simply provide reassurance, for instance when a minor illness will get better on its own with a few days’ rest.

“However, if symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, they have the right clinical training to ensure people get the help they need.”

Timing ‘not a coincidence’

However, the Patients Association said it was important parents did not feel put off from seeing a doctor if they thought something more serious was wrong.

The charity’s chief executive, Rachel Power, said: “For common childhood illnesses, a pharmacist will often be a sensible first port of call, so we welcome efforts to raise awareness of the support they can offer.

“Equally, we wouldn’t want to see parents put off taking their children to see a doctor if they have any suspicion that something more serious could be wrong.

“While this campaign has its merits, the timing is not a coincidence. The pressures facing the NHS after years of underfunding and mismanagement of its workforce create a huge incentive to discourage people from using GPs or A&E.

“Often people will be right to use alternatives, but we don’t want to hear of more cases where someone has stayed away and subsequently come to serious harm because they were in fact seriously ill.”

The Royal College of GPs said patients can help to ease the “intense pressure” on GPs by seeking advice from a pharmacist, who they said were “highly-skilled medical professionals”.

“But of course, they are not GPs and in an emergency or situation where genuinely unsure, patients should always seek expert medical assistance, particularly if parents see potentially serious symptoms in their child such as a very high temperature that doesn’t respond to simple measures, features of dehydration or lethargy, ” said chairwoman Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard.

The NHS’s Stay Well Pharmacy campaign will feature a TV advert and digital and social media advertising.

Brine announces medicine safety initiative as error defence approaches

Chemist and Druggist, Grace Lewis, 12 February 2018

The government will launch a new “medication safety initiative” in the “coming months”, pharmacy minister Steve Brine has announced.

In a pre-recorded video address to Sigma Pharmaceuticals’ annual conference in Borneo this morning (February 12), Mr Brine said the initiative will “bring more focus on reducing prescribing and medication errors across the health system”.

“This programme will build on existing work to develop our understanding of how best to educate and inform patients about their medicines, as well as how we use technology such as electronic prescribing and medicine administration systems,” he added.

Mr Brine also reaffirmed that he is “personally committed” to seeing the legal defence for pharmacists and their staff from criminal prosecution for an inadvertent dispensing error become law.

One step closer to dispensing error defence

Last week, this proposed defence came once step closer to reality, with the news that the government’s privy council had signed the order. According to correspondence from the Department of Health and Social Care – seen by C+D – this order will come into force 28 days after it has been signed, after which the government can then introduce a “commencement order”.

In practical terms, this means the earliest the defence could become law is April.

Minister admits sector’s “exceptional circumstances”

Pharmacy minister Mr Brine also used his video message to reflect on the “exceptional circumstances affecting community pharmacy this year”, including a 12-month category M clawback “at a time when some generic medicines increased in price”.

Mr Brine said he had “listened to these concerns” and “increased advance payments twice to mitigate cashflow issues”.

“I also recognise that November’s unprecedented delay in announcing concessionary prices caused a bit of uncertainty for pharmacy contractors. However, it was important to understand the position of the market.”

“I want to thank you for supplying medicines to patients during this uncertainty,” he added.

Watch the full video address from Mr Brine below:

Theresa May: “Pharmacy at heart of wellbeing”

For the second year in a row, prime minister Theresa May sent a letter expressing her support for the Sigma conference.

“Community pharmacies remain at the heart of patient care and community wellbeing,” she wrote in the letter. “As we are in the midst of national change, I hope the conference allows partners in the community pharmacy sector to discuss how to further shape their businesses for the future.”

The letter was read out by the event’s chair, Pharmacists’ Defence Association director of public affairs Claire Ward, during the conference’s opening session.

Media and Political Bulletin

26 October 2017

Media Summary

 House of Lords hears of fears for community pharmacy

The Pharmaceutical Journal, 25 October 2017

The Pharmaceutical Journal reports on the House of Lords debate on community pharmacy that took place on 19th October. Former Labour health minister Lord Hunt of Kings Heath tabled a “motion of regret” on cutbacks and reforms to community pharmacy, and on what he described as its “painful impact on thousands of people”.

Peers discussed the motion submitted by Lord Hunt, in which he highlighted the delay in the review of the regulations governing providing community pharmaceutical services, the closure of community pharmacies resulting from the budget cuts in 2016–2017 and 2017–2018, as well as changes to the way the funding for these services is distributed.

The debate was also reported by the PSNC.

More generic prescribing could save £18m, NHS Business Services Authority says

The Pharmaceutical Journal, 25 October 2017

The Pharmaceutical Journal highlights the announcement by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) that nearly £18m could be saved from the NHS drugs budget if more medicines from a published list were prescribed generically.

A list of 20 drugs that could be prescribed generically has been published by the NHS BSA. It claims that if these were prescribed when clinically appropriate, a national total of £17.9m could be saved.

 

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House of Lords hears of fears for community pharmacy

The Pharmaceutical Journal, 25 October 2017

Former Labour health minister Lord Hunt of Kings Heath has tabled a “motion of regret” on cutbacks and reforms to community pharmacy, and on what he described as its “painful impact on thousands of people”.

Peers from across the political spectrum recently highlighted the essential role of community pharmacies in a House of Lords debate on the profession, where Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord O’Shaughnessy, praised the role community pharmacy played in the nation’s health

Peers from across the political spectrum have highlighted the essential role of community pharmacies in a House of Lords debate on the profession.

Former Labour health minister Lord Hunt of Kings Heath tabled a “motion of regret” on cutbacks and reforms to community pharmacy, and on what he described as its “painful impact on thousands of people”.

On 19 October 2017, peers discussed the motion submitted by Lord Hunt, which regretted that “NHS’s (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) (Amendment) Regulations 2017, in delaying the review of the regulations governing providing community pharmaceutical services, do not prevent the closure of community pharmacies resulting from the budget cuts in 2016–2017 and 2017–2018, and changes to the way the funding is distributed”.

During the debate, Lord Hunt objected to the Government’s wider approach to funding for community pharmacy.

“My concern is that the cutbacks or reforms will have a painful impact on thousands of people and therefore need to be thwarted as soon as possible,” he said.

“By reducing the contribution that community pharmacies can make, there is a risk of an increased burden on already pressed GPs and A&E departments.”

Both Lord Hunt, and Liberal Democrat life peer Baroness Jolly, cited a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report that highlighted the value of community pharmacies. Peers also expressed concerns about cashflow issues facing community pharmacies, and the impact that a reduction in services could have on patients and other health services.

“PwC determined that patient benefits totalled £612m, that the wider societal benefits were £575m, and that the NHS benefits to the tune of £1,352m,” Baroness Jolly said.

“I suggest that when not only our GPs but our A&E services are under immense pressure from patients presenting with conditions that do not require prescriptions or that level of advice, this is not the time to take away from the high street the welcome and expertise of the neighbourhood pharmacies,” she added.

The debate was also told about the social benefits of community pharmacies and community pharmacy flu vaccinations, and peers asked the government about the Murray Review and its plan for community pharmacy.

For the Government, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord O’Shaughnessy, praised the role community pharmacy plays in the nation’s health.

“The work of community pharmacies is deeply valued by the Government,” he said.

Lord O’Shaughnessy stated the need for the NHS to find £22bn in efficiency savings, and said that community pharmacy must play its part in helping to eliminate the Government’s budget deficit.

He said there was “recognition” of the cashflow issues, adding: “The Department is working with the trade body and pharmacies to look at this issue.”

 

More generic prescribing could save £18m, NHS Business Services Authority says

The Pharmaceutical Journal, 25 October 2017

Nearly £18m could be saved from the NHS drugs budget if more medicines from a published list were prescribed generically, the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) has said.

A list of 20 drugs that could be prescribed generically has been published by the NHS BSA. It claims that if these were prescribed when clinically appropriate, a national total of £17.9m could be saved. If the generic prescribing rates for these medicines in every clinical commissioning group (CCG) matched the average of their best five comparable CCGs, then £4.2m could be saved.

Based on patient level prescribing data in the form of a ‘dashboard’, the NHS BSA tool includes the savings that could be made across various geographies, from national to GP practice level. The current rates of prescribing of the generic products are also shown.

The dashboard says it includes medicines “deemed by experienced pharmacists to have the least potential for clinical controversy”. It has been published on the NHS BSA’s information ePACT2 information service.

If a CCG has a number of medicines with relatively low current levels of generic prescribing in their locality, the NHS BSA advises them to notify community pharmacies of plans to increase generic prescribing so they can prepare for increases in demand.

Although 81% of prescriptions in England are prescribed generically, pharmacists have expressed concerns that the supplies of generic medicines are vulnerable to market forces, with manufacturers restricting their distribution, and currency exchange rates affecting prices. The Department of Health has been asked to intervene to shield pharmacies from such changes and help boost the strength of supply chains for generic medicines.

Media Summary

BGMA: We are working with Department of Health to counter generic shortages

Pharmacy Business, Neil Trainis, 26 September 2017

 

Pharmacy Business highlights the BGMA assurances to community pharmacists that it is working with the Department of Health to find solutions to the generic shortages. Many community pharmacists have struggled to source products in the wake of the generic drug shortages and the BGMA has reported that it is working with the DoH to find solutions and ensure that “any impact on patients is kept to an absolute minimum.”

 

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BGMA: We are working with Department of Health to counter generic shortages

Pharmacy Business, Neil Trainis, 26 September 2017

 

The British Generic Manufacturers Association has reassured community pharmacists who have struggled to source products in the wake of generic drug shortages that its members are working with the Department of Health to find solutions and ensure “any impact on patients is kept to an absolute minimum.”

 

The PSNC said last week it was in “urgent” talks with the DoH over “price concessions and wider concerns” following reports that contractors were enduring a shortage of generic drugs from Bristol Laboratories and Dr. Reddy’s.

 

When asked if he was aware of generic shortages at Bristol Labs and Dr. Reddy’s or any other of its members, BGMA director general Warwick Smith (pictured) told Pharmacy Business: “A regulatory issue is currently limiting the supply of some medicines.

 

“The industry is working with the Department of Health to identify alternative sources of supply so that any impact on patients is kept to an absolute minimum.

 

“Due to the multi-source nature of the UK generics market, when occasional supply issues of this kind arise, other manufacturers are usually able to increase production to mitigate any potential supply shortfall. Our focus and priority is on quality and security of supply.”

 

Rajiv Shah, a director at Sigma Pharmaceuticals, told the Avicenna conference in northern Cyprus in 2015 that generic drug shortages were costing independent pharmacists in England £10 million a year.

Media Summary

80% drop in EEA pharmacist registrations ‘potentially’ due to Brexit

Chemist and Druggist, Thomas Cox, 20 September 2017

 

Chemist and Druggist reports on the 82% decline in the registration of European pharmacists in Great Britain. The number of European Economic Area (EEA) pharmacists registering in the UK dropped from 166 in April-June 2016, to just 30 in the same period this year, according to a report published for the General Pharmaceutical Council meeting held at the beginning of September. The fall “potentially reflects the impact of Brexit and our new English language requirements”, the GPhC has said.

 

Scottish government sets out strategy to transform pharmacy

Pharmacy Business, Neil Trainis, 19 September 2017

 

Pharmacy Business highlights the Scottish government’s new strategy for developing the role of pharmacy with a pledge to ensure it is “an integral and enhanced part of a modern NHS in Scotland.”

Nine commitments were made in the government’s vision document, ‘Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care: A Strategy for Scotland,’ including securing community pharmacies as the first port of call for managing self-limiting illnesses and supporting the self-management of long-term conditions. The government also wants to integrate pharmacists with pharmacy technicians in GP practices, “transform” hospital pharmacy services and increase access to pharmaceutical care in remote and rural areas.

 

MHRA expresses concerns over drugs sold online

Pharmaceutical Journal, 19 September 2017

 

The MHRA has met with the National Pharmacy Association to discuss concerns that community pharmacies are breaching legislation covering the online sale and supply of medicines in the UKThe law requires sellers of medicines online to apply for a European-wide common clickable logo, managed by the MHRA, which must be displayed on every page of the website that offers to supply medicines to the public at a distance.

 

The MHRA’s concerns stem from reports from agencies in other EEA countries that “a number of pharmacies” are supplying UK products outside of the UK, and that some are failing to display the required logo as directed.

 

 

 

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80% drop in EEA pharmacist registrations ‘potentially’ due to Brexit

Chemist and Druggist, Thomas Cox, 20 September 2017

 

An 82% fall in European pharmacists registering in Great Britain may have been caused by Brexit, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has speculated.

 

The number of European Economic Area (EEA) pharmacists registering in the UK dropped from 166 in April-June 2016, to just 30 in the same period this year, according to a report published for the GPhC’s council meeting earlier this month (September 7).

 

The fall “potentially reflects the impact of Brexit and our new English language requirements”, the GPhC said in its report.

 

The overall number of pharmacist registrations also experienced a drop – of 61% – between April-June 2016 and the same period last year, according to figures in the GPhC report.

 

In an exclusive interview with C+D last week (September 11), GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said the regulator is “not concerned” about the European figures, as “it’s not for us to be worried or pleased” about the number of EEA registrations.

 

The GPhC does not have a role in “workforce planning”, he explained.

 

The drop “could be” due to Brexit, he continued, but the GPhC has not researched the issue. The regulator “might” look into it, but understanding the cause is “not necessarily a high priority”.

 

There could be a “whole range of factors” at play in this “very complicated” issue, he said, including employment prospects in Great Britain, as well as events in EEA pharmacists’ home countries.

 

The GPhC’s new English language requirements came into force in December last year. They require pharmacy professionals who qualified in EEA countries to provide evidence they have the “requisite English skills to practise safely in Great Britain”.

 

Scottish government sets out strategy to transform pharmacy

Pharmacy Business, Neil Trainis, 19 September 2017

 

The Scottish government has set out its strategy for developing the role of pharmacy with a pledge to ensure it is “an integral and enhanced part of a modern NHS in Scotland.”

 

Nine commitments were made in the government’s vision document, ‘Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care: A Strategy for Scotland,’ including securing community pharmacies as the first port of call for managing self-limiting illnesses and supporting the self-management of long-term conditions.

 

The government also wants to integrate pharmacists with pharmacy technicians in GP practices, “transform” hospital pharmacy services and increase access to pharmaceutical care in remote and rural areas.

 

The commitments, set out under two priorities – improving NHS pharmaceutical care and enabling NHS pharmaceutical care transformation – are a sign of the value the Scottish government has placed in community pharmacy.

 

“These priorities for the future of NHS pharmaceutical care that are set out in this strategy, integrated within a modern digitally-enabled health and social care system in Scotland, have the potential to open up new and rewarding career pathways for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in increasingly clinical roles,” said Rose Marie Parr, Scotland’s chief pharmaceutical officer.

 

“I am, though, mindful that the demands of professional practice, with its uncertainty, instability, uniqueness and value conflicts will bring about many future challenges and demands for individuals within the pharmacy profession.

 

“Therefore, I will also ensure that there is a continued focus going forward on supporting the professional pharmacy practitioner, recognising the often difficult judgments and personal commitments required. This can be achieved in part through education, developing clinical capability and competence and enabling leadership development and professionalism.”

 

Duncan Rudkin, the chief executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council, said: “We welcome the publication of Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care, and support its goals for further improvements to the health and care of patients in Scotland.

 

“The GPhC remains committed to regulating in a way that supports the delivery of safe and effective care across Great Britain, whilst recognising and responding to the local context in which that care is delivered.

 

“We look forward to continuing our work with the Scottish government to achieve our shared ambition to further improve the quality of pharmaceutical care in Scotland.”

MHRA expresses concerns over drugs sold online

Pharmaceutical Journal, 19 September 2017

 

Are community pharmacies breaching legislation covering the online sale and supply of medicines in the UK? The MHRA and NPA have met to discuss their concerns.

 

The Medicines Healthcare products and Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has met with the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) to discuss concerns that community pharmacies are breaching legislation covering the online sale and supply of medicines in the UK.

 

The law requires sellers of medicines online to apply for a European-wide common clickable logo, managed by the MHRA, which must be displayed on every page of the website that offers to supply medicines to the public at a distance. Customers can click on the logo to check if it is authorised to sell medicines. This applies to all medicines, not just prescription-only (POM) or pharmacy (P) medicines. How the logo works is explained in the MHRA’s guidance, ‘Selling human medicines online (distance selling) to the public’.

 

If medicines are sold to a customer in another European Economic Area (EEA) member state, the medicine must have a marketing authorisation in that country and the medicine must be the version that is authorised in the destination country.

 

The MHRA’s concerns stem from reports from sister agencies in other EEA countries that “a number of pharmacies” are supplying UK products outside of the UK, and that some are failing to display the required logo as directed. The concerns have also been triggered by investigations into a small number of deaths in recent months involving individuals in the UK who had bought POMs online.

 

“There are some interesting issues that are being raised around buying healthcare online,” said Lynda Scammell, senior policy advisor at the MHRA.

 

“In the UK, prescription only medicines can be offered online, provided all legal requirements are met – such as requiring a valid prescription and dispensing through a registered pharmacy.

 

“We urge the public to check for the Distance Selling Logo, which connects to a list of nationally registered suppliers, when considering purchasing medicines online,” she said.

 

Scammell added that buying healthcare and medicines online was raising challenges for regulators and the MHRA was working closely with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and the General Medical Council (GMC) to make sure acceptable standards of patient care were met.

 

 

Pharmacies that are found to be operating illegally may have their registration suspended, or removed from the MHRA list of UK registered online retail sellers, or have their registration entry varied by the MHRA.

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.

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