HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 12 May 2016

Keith Ridge backtracks on hub-and-spoke safety claims

12 May 2016, Chemist and Druggist, Annabelle Collins


Last March at an APPG event England’s chief pharmaceutical officer, Keith Ridge compared the 3% dispensing error rate in England with a ‘0.00001% error rate in “large scale automated dispensing facilities” in Sweden. In a statement published by the APPG yesterday, Dr Ridge admitted the comparison was not appropriate between the two countries, but retains his view that “automated centralised dispensing will improve safety and quality of care”.


Brexit would be a great blow to independent pharmacy

11 May 2016, Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis


Pharmacy Biz reports on an article written by Pharmacy Voice chair Claire Ward and Sigma director Bhavin Shah concerning the dangers to community pharmacy if the UK leaves the EU. The article warns that British pharmaceutical wholesalers may have difficulties in accessing the European PI market and maintaining a supply of medicines.


BMA: Scrap flu service if uptake remains low

11 May 2016, Chemist and Druggist, Annabelle Collins


The BMA has said the pharmacy flu service should not be recommissioned without conclusive evidence that it increases vaccine uptake. Provisional figures published by Public Health England in March showed that vaccine uptake across England fell to 71% at the end of January. Rates also dropped in people under than 65 in clinical risk groups.


‘More needs to be done’ to increase flu uptake

11 May 2016, Chemist and Druggist, Annabelle Collins


Pharmacy Voice has called for more to be done to achieve flu uptake targets. Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley and NPA chairman Ian Strachan have both stressed the importance of collaboration between general practice and community pharmacy to achieve the targets.


The Good Health Suite also discusses the pharmacy flu vaccination service.


The latest campaign update can be reviewed on the NPA website.


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Brexit would be a great blow to independent pharmacy

11 May 2016, Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis

An article written by Pharmacy Voice chair Claire Ward and Sigma director Bhavin Shah has warned of the dangers posed to community pharmacy and patient health if the UK votes to leave the European Union.


With about six weeks to go until an in-out referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, debate on both sides of the argument has intensified.


The article, sent by Sigma to Pharmacy Business, contains warnings about the damage Brexit would inflict on the NHS as well as the ability of British pharmaceutical wholesalers and independent pharmacists to access the European PI market and maintain a strong supply of medicines to patients in the UK.


“A vote to leave the European Union may deliver an even greater blow to independent pharmacy and the wider sector, that few contractors are even discussing let alone planning for,” Ward and Shah write.


“Sigma, along with many other wholesalers, benefits significantly from access to the European parallel import market for branded pharmaceuticals. So too do independent pharmacy customers, keen to maximise the margins than can be passed on. Free trade within the EU is one of the biggest benefits of membership.


“At its peak in 2003 parallel imports saved patients and the NHS around £228m per annum. Despite a fall in the parallel import market since then of approximately 40-50%, the savings are still quite large.


“In fact the savings are probably much greater because of the effect of parallel trade on price competition as PIs form the only real price competition in the market for patent-protected medicines.”


They added: “Parallel imports also give independent pharmacies the choice of sourcing medicines at cheaper prices and having an alternative to UK brands when there are market shortages.


“The loss of parallel imports would no doubt reduce the purchasing power of independent pharmacy if the availability of patented medicines became poorer and the suppliers of patented medicines were reduced due to the inability to trade in parallel imports.


“Without parallel imports it is uncertain how patent owners would behave due to the lack of price competition and this again could drive down the ability for the NHS to generate savings in pharmacy.”


Ward and Shah also warned that a vote to leave will inflate the manufacturing costs of generic medicines in Europe.


“Whilst little manufacturing of generics takes place in the UK, there are significant benefits from generic manufacturing in Europe,” they write.


“Currently a product can be manufactured in Poland and be released for sale in the EU in Poland. Brexit could lead to increased manufacturing costs for generic medicines if European manufactured medicines are viewed in the same way as MHRA approved products manufactured in India or China which have to be QP released for sale in the UK.”


On the impact of Brexit on retail pharmacy, they write: “Due to the EU, laws are harmonised across the EU meaning that retailers have a large talent pool to choose from for their businesses.


“There is certainly a risk of pharmacist and healthcare professional migration due to Brexit.”


NHS England to recommission national pharmacy flu vaccination service

11 May 2016, The Good Health Suite


Community pharmacies in England will be able to offer the nationally commissioned flu vaccination service for the 2016-17 season, NHS England has announced.


Introduced at short notice in September 2015, the pharmacy service vaccinated 240,259 patients for the 2015-16 season, out of a total of 10,407,913 vaccinated across all NHS sectors.


Terms and fees for the recommissioned service will remain the same as in 2015-16. It is hoped that the early announcement confirming that the scheme will continue means pharmacies will be better able to manage and order vaccine stocks for the 2016-17 season.


PSNC has advised that “further guidance will be issued to contractors once legislation and associated documents have been updated to take into account the recommissioning of this service.”


Keith Ridge, NHS England’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, said: “Our flu vaccination service made it possible for nearly a quarter of a million more people last year to receive a vaccination in their local community pharmacy of choice. We are pleased to confirm that we will continue to offer this more convenient option to the public during the year ahead.”


The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has welcomed the announcement. Sandra Gidley, Chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, said: “This is great news for patients, and an excellent way of demonstrating that pharmacists can routinely be turned to for preventative healthcare. Around a quarter of a million additional patients chose to receive vaccinations in a community pharmacy compared to the previous year.


“Flu vaccinations are a great example of how pharmacists can help ease overstretched GP surgeries. Close and effective collaboration with our GP colleagues should help make this year even more successful in terms of delivery. One of the English Board’s aspirations is to ‘make every pharmacy a public health centre’, promoting national commissioning for this and other services deliverable by pharmacists and the pharmacy team.”


The National Pharmacy Association has arranged flu vaccination training for pharmacists, which it said “is suitable for providing vaccinations under a private Patient Group Direction, as well as the NHS community pharmacy seasonal influenza vaccination Advance Service.”



Latest campaign update: 10.05.2016

11 May 2016, NPA


Campaign webinar 12 May

Amidst the noise of the campaign, and the claims and counter-claims, what are the facts about the Government proposals for cuts and efficiencies? Join the NPA webinar this Thursday evening (12th May) to find out.


This free online webinar will help you to understand: What does 6% actually mean? Could my pharmacy be forced to close? What has the Government actually said about closures? Is hub and spoke actually safer, as the Government claims? Am I in a cluster of pharmacies, and is this a bad thing? Are the Government’s proposals driven by patient demand? Is the Support Your Local Pharmacy campaign having an effect?  What is truly open to consultation and what is already fixed? You will also have the opportunity to put your questions live to our presenters.


The campaign petition will be delivered to Downing Street on 24 May

Please send your completed petition forms to us by 20 May if at all possible.  We will still be able to submit signatures collected after that date, but to have maximum impact we want to have the highest possible number ahead of the 24 May.

Please make sure to either fax OR post the petitions to us – it is extremely difficult for us to de-dupe if you fax and post.

At over one and a quarter million signatures, the Support Your Local Pharmacy campaign petition is now the largest health care petition of all time in this country!  Keep it up – we want to be the largest petition on any topic, ever.


Patients, carers and concerned citizens in London are being invited to a Community Pharmacy Patients Voice event on 15 May.

Organised by Pharmacy London, the meeting will bring patients up to date with Department of Health plans for pharmacy services across England, including current proposals for cuts and ‘efficiencies’.  Patients will also have the chance to share their experiences of pharmacy services in the capital.  The event takes place on Sunday 15 May 11.00am-1.00pm, at Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London SW3 5EE.

For more details, contact Rekha Shah (Pharmacy London  kcw.lpc@gmail.com) or Leyla Hannbeck (National Pharmacy Association, l.hannbeck@npa.co.uk).  Download the flyer to put in your pharmacy.


Hub and spoke consultation – NPA template response

The Government is currently running a consultation on changes to legislation which would allow new inter-company hub and spoke arrangements. This would mean that independents would be able to outsource medicine assembly to a hub pharmacy, before making the final supply to the patient from the pharmacy. The Government claims that this model is more efficient, and is using it to justify the £170m funding cuts.  The NPA has identified significant legal, economic and practical problems with the Government proposal. In addition, a survey of over 400 NPA Members found that there was little appetite to work in this way.

To ensure that the Government appreciates the strength of feeling within community pharmacy, we are encouraging members to make their own submission to this consultation.

The 17th May is the deadline for this consultation.

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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