HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 22 January 2016


21 January 2016, Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, 85 pharmaceutical companies in a joined up declaration urged governments across the world to work with them to develop funding sources for drug research and bolster efforts to fight against antimicrobial resistance. This declaration was also signed by 18 pharmaceutical industry associations including the ABPI.


The first cut is the deepest

20 January 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal

This editorial recognizes that the announced funding cut, the first since the contractual framework was negotiated in 2005, will be damaging but was not unexpected. Alongside the funding cut, a consultation will investigate the possibility of a “pharmacy integration fund” to help change how community pharmacy and pharmacists operate within the NHS.


Independents better placed to cope with 6% funding cut

21 January 2016, Chemist and Druggist, Annabelle Collins

Chemist and Druggist reports that independent pharmacies would be in a better position to cope with the 6% funding cut, according to a finance expert. Independent contractors are more flexible, closer to operations on the ground and not constrained by a broader business model.


MHRA Drug Safey Update – January

21 January 2016, PSNC

The new Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Drug Safety Update (Vol 9, Issue 6, January 2016) has been published and includes articles on:

  • Nicorandil (Ikorel): now second-line treatment for angina; risk of ulcer complications
  • Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine systems: prescribe by brand name

To see the latest MHRA Drug Safety Update in full visit the MHRA website.


Parliamentary Coverage


There is no Parliamentary coverage today.


Full Coverage


21 January 2016, Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis

Eighty-five pharmaceutical companies used the World Economic Forum in Davos as a platform to urge governments across the world to work with them to find new ways of funding drug research and bloster the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

The companies, including GSK, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, issued their plea in Switzerland in a joint declaration from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and dignostics industries which warned that “antibiotics are losing effectiveness faster than they are being replaced by new, innovative drugs, including both antibiotics and alternative non-antibiotic approaches to treating and preventing infections.”

“We call for governments to commit funding and support the development and implementation of transformational commercial models that (a) enhance conservation of new and existing antibiotics, while (b) improving financial and access-related predictability for both industry and health systems,” the declaration said.

Antimicrobial resistance remains a significant threat to humanity. An independent review in 2014 by the economist Jim O’Neill warned antimicrobial resistance could kill 10 million people worldwide each year by 2050.

“Antibiotic resistance is the sort of global healthcare challenge that this industry should be using its expertise to tackle,” said Sir Andrew Witty, chief executive of GSK.

“That’s why I’m so pleased to see such a broad range of companies committing to this declaration. I’m hopeful that today’s declaration will encourage governments to work with us on new economic models that can help to secure a new supply of antibiotics for the future.”

Ian Read, chairman and chief executive of Pfizer, said: “The growing problem of antimicrobial resistance requires new approaches and a heightened commitment to development of new treatments and vaccines.

“Pfizer applauds this declaration as a balanced and robust approach to stimulating R&D through market based incentives, and emphasising the importance of responsible stewardship.”

The declaration was also signed by nine industry associations in 18 different countries, including the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.


Global pharmaceutical industry calls on Governments to work with them to beat the rising threat of drug resistance

21 January 2016, ABPI, Press Office

The ABPI has signed a declaration, in partnership with more than 80 leading international pharmaceutical, generics, diagnostics and biotechnology companies, as well as international and domestic industry bodies, to call on governments and industry to work in parallel in taking comprehensive action against drug-resistant infections.

The joint declaration​ launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland sets out, for the first time, how governments and the life sciences industry need to work together to support sustained investment in the new products needed to beat the challenges of rising drug resistance.

The declaration supports the ongoing work in the UK on tackling the challenges with AMR which included funding commitments in the most recent Spending Review. The ABPI continues to work closely with the AMR Review team and relevant government departments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to seek a strong and coherent response to AMR.​

Dr Virginia Acha, Executive Director for Research and Medical Innovation, said:

“When David Cameron announced the AMR Review work in July 2014, he called for ‘a stronger, more coherent global response, with nations, business and the world of science working together to up our game in the field of antibiotics’. With this global Declaration of Support for Combating AMR, industry has given that response. It is up to us all to make sure that delivers new solutions to address AMR for patients everywhere.”


The first cut is the deepest

20 January 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal

It is hard for those working in community pharmacy not to see red after reading the recent open letter to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) — which represents NHS pharmacy contractors — from the Department of Health and NHS England. It revealed that funding for the sector in England in 2016–2017 is set to be cut from £2.8bn to £2.63bn, a reduction of £170m, which is more than 6%.

There has never been a cut in agreed funding since the introduction of the new contractual framework in 2005, let alone anything of this scale.

Unsurprisingly, pharmacy organisations have criticised the announcement. The recipients of the letter, the PSNC, labelled it “a damaging move” and “a destructive blow to the support community pharmacies can offer to patients and the public”. The National Pharmacy Association, the trade association for community pharmacies, called the proposals “misinformed” and accused the Department of Health (DH) and NHS England of using a questionable evidence base and giving an unbalanced opinion. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board described the cuts as “shortsighted” and said there was cause for concern about the future of the profession.

The cuts are potentially damaging for community pharmacy, but they were not unexpected. The NHS ‘Five year forward view’, published in October 2014, described the need for greater efficiency and productivity, while in the November 2015 spending review, the government said it expects £22bn of efficiencies to be made within the NHS by 2020–2021. As a result, according to the DH and NHS England in the letter, “community pharmacy is a core part of NHS primary care” and it has “an important contribution to make” as the NHS continues to face financial challenges.

There is a (faint) silver lining. The DH will consult on how to introduce a “pharmacy integration fund” to help change how community pharmacy and pharmacists operate within the NHS. This is on the back of a recent initiative to employ pharmacists in GP practices. The fund is expected to be around £20m for 2016–2017, but it is unknown how much of this funding will go to community pharmacies.

The DH will also consult on the launch of a pharmacy access scheme, which would provide more NHS funds to certain pharmacies, considering factors such as location and the health needs of the population. But given the scrapping of the essential small pharmacy scheme in 2015, which was introduced in 2006 to provide additional funding to pharmacies that would be unviable without financial support, this seems to be a case of reinventing the wheel.

December has always been one of the busiest months for community pharmacists. Many pharmacists and pharmacy staff would have been organising patients’ repeat prescriptions to ensure they do not run out during the holiday period. Others would have been managing the increased volume of dispensing that happens as a result of patients travelling. Therefore, the letter could not have come at a worse time. It does nothing to boost morale for pharmacists and contractors working tirelessly for patients and their communities, and many will now be anxious about how the cuts will be implemented.

Community pharmacy already operates under a strong business model, so it is hard to see where such efficiency savings could come from, apart from staff reduction, which could have a negative impact on safety and user satisfaction. It is hard to see the rationale behind the DH and NHS England’s proposed cuts to an already efficient profession.

Given that this is likely to be the beginning of a series of efficiency savings by the government for years to come, pharmacy professional bodies must grasp the opportunity to limit the damage and make their — and their members’ — voices heard by the DH during the consultation period, which is expected to close on 24 March 2016.

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