HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 25 January 2016

Up to 3,000 pharmacies could close after government cuts, MPs warn

22 January 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal, Ingrid Torjesen

The All Party Pharmacy Group has warned that the pharmacy funding cut could result in 1,000 to 3,000 pharmacies closing in England. The APPG met with Alistair Burt, minister for community and social care, and Jeanette Howe, head of pharmacy at the Department of Health, who confirmed that there would be further reductions in the future. According to Ian Strachan, chair of the NPA, the announced cut is in contradiction with the Department of Health’s position of putting community pharmacy at the heart of the NHS.

The news was also reported by Chemist and Druggist.

 

Download C+D’s funding cut letter and send to your MP

22 January 2016, C&D, Annabelle Collins

Chemist and Druggist has written a template letter for pharmacists to send to their local MPs and gain support for a debate in parliament. You can find in this article the template letter and a link to find your local MP.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons Question, Health: Generic Prescribing, 22 January 2016

Kevin Barron: What estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of removing generic medicines required to have a brand name by the MHRA from the Statutory Scheme of Control the Prices of Branded Health Service Medicines.

Department of Health

George Freeman : The Department consulted on options to amend the Statutory Scheme regulations which control the prices of branded health service medicines. Both the voluntary Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme and the statutory scheme include all health service medicines with a brand name, including those required by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to have a brand name. The Department did not propose any changes to the scope of the statutory scheme in this respect and has not made an estimate of the cost of removing those branded medicines from the statutory scheme.

The Department received responses from a range of organisations including National Health Service, independent bodies and pharmaceutical industry. The Department is currently analysing the responses from a range of organisations including NHS, independent bodies and pharmaceutical industry.

The consultation and impact assessment can be accessed using the following link.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pricing-of-branded-health-service-medicines

 

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House of Commons Question, Health: Generic Prescribing, 22 January 2016

Kevin Barron: What plans he has to include generic medicines which are required to have a brand name by the MHRA and are already subject to market competition alongside originator medicines in the Statutory Scheme of Control the Prices of Branded Health Service Medicines.

George Freeman :

The Department consulted on options to amend the Statutory Scheme regulations which control the prices of branded health service medicines. Both the voluntary Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme and the statutory scheme include all health service medicines with a brand name, including those required by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to have a brand name. The Department did not propose any changes to the scope of the statutory scheme in this respect and has not made an estimate of the cost of removing those branded medicines from the statutory scheme.

The Department received responses from a range of organisations including National Health Service, independent bodies and pharmaceutical industry. The Department is currently analysing the responses from a range of organisations including NHS, independent bodies and pharmaceutical industry.

The consultation and impact assessment can be accessed using the following link.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pricing-of-branded-health-service-medicines

 

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House of Commons Question, Cancer: Drugs, 22 January 2016

Mark Durkan: What discussions the his Department, NHS England and NICE have had on the effect of proposed Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) changes on patients prescribed current CDF treatments who will not receive interim funding under that proposed new scheme.

Department of Health

George Freeman: NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence are currently consulting jointly on draft proposals on the future direction of the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF). The consultation document states that all patients receiving treatment funded through the CDF on 31 March 2016 will continue to receive treatment until the point that they and their consultant agree that it is appropriate to stop.

NHS England has advised that the aim of the future CDF is to help patients receive new treatments with genuine promise, while real world evidence is collected for up to two years on how well they work in practice. This will then help determine whether the treatment should be accepted for routine use in the National Health Service in the future. It is not possible to make comparisons between the current and future CDF until such time as the consultation has concluded and the responses reviewed.

The consultation was published on 19 November 2015 and is open until 11 February 2016.

Further information is available at:

www.engage.england.nhs.uk/consultation/cdf-consultation

 

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Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency: Quarterly reports on the import of unlicensed medicines

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has published the summary report for importation of unlicensed medicines: 1st July 2015 to 30 September 2015:  http://bit.ly/1K0UVS4

Full Coverage

Up to 3,000 pharmacies could close after government cuts, MPs warn

22 January 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal, Ingrid Torjesen

The All Party Pharmacy Group has warned that as many as one in four pharmacies could close as a result of 6% funding cuts in 2016–2017.

Between 1,000 and 3,000 pharmacies could close in England as a result of government cuts to funding for pharmacy, said the PSNC.

Alistair Burt, minister for community and social care, told the APPG that the government would not decide which pharmacies should close, but admitted that independents will be ‘squeezed’

Between 1,000 and 3,000 pharmacies — as many as one in four — could close in England as a result of government cuts to funding for pharmacy, the All Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) has warned.

A letter to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) in December 2015 announced a 6% funding cut from £2.8bn in 2015–2016 to £2.63bn in 2016–2017, which will “take effect from October 2016, giving community pharmacies time to prepare”.

On 13 January 2016, the APPG met with Alistair Burt, minister for community and social care, and Jeannette Howe, head of pharmacy at the Department of Health, to discuss the cuts. At this meeting, Howe confirmed that there would be further reductions in future years.

After the meeting, APPG’s chair, Sir Kevin Barron, said: “Based on what we heard, that is not a one-off cut so there are implications for future years. We note from our meeting that phasing may be considered. But there is also much more to this picture than a cut in funding. There is a clear intention to reduce the number of pharmacies.”

The letter to the PSNC states: “In some parts of the country there are more pharmacies than are necessary to maintain good access. 40% of pharmacies are in a cluster where there are three or more pharmacies within ten minutes’ walk.

“The Department will separately consult on changing the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (HMR 2012) to allow all pharmacies to access the efficiency created by ‘hub-and-spoke’ dispensing, with the aim of making this legislative change by October 2016. This could help pharmacies to lower their operating costs and free up pharmacists to provide more clinical services and public health services.”

Burt told the APPG meeting that the government would not decide which pharmacies should close. Pharmacies would need to decide whether they were “viable” in light of the change to the funding level. He admitted that independents will be “squeezed” and that this is a matter of concern for the government to look at.

“Warehouse dispensing, or ‘hub and spoke’, raises questions around safety, quality and access,” said Sir Kevin. “The supply of prescription medicines cannot be treated like buying clothes and DVDs. High quality, safe dispensing depends on the opportunity for a face-to-face discussion between the pharmacist and the patient. I don’t see how that can be done in a warehouse.”

Ian Strachan, chair of the National Pharmacy Association, says: “There is a flat and glaring contradiction in the Department of Health’s position: it calls for community pharmacy to be at the heart of the NHS, then tells us how it plans to wrench the heart out of the sector.

“We have to stand together and fight this every step of the way,” he adds. “The [December letter] refers to ‘clinical pharmacists’ in GP practices, in care homes and at the end of a phone line. Never once does it acknowledge that there is any clinical capability in the community pharmacy setting. That is a slur.”

From Factory to Pharmacy

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