HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 24 May 2017

Media Summary

DH publishes May concession price update
Dispensing Doctor, Ailsa Colquhoun, 24 May 2017

The Department of Health has published three updates to the list of May price concessions: Betahistine 8mg and 16mg tablets, and Sumatriptan 50mg tablets.

High Court verdict won’t reduce demand for pharmacies
Chemist and Druggist, Annabelle Collins, 23 May 2017

A High Court judge’s rejection of pharmacy’s case against the funding cuts will not have a “notable effect” on sales, according to Scott Hayton, director of brokers Hutchings Consultants. He contends that, for the last 15 months, buyers have been operating on the basis that the cuts to pharmacy funding in England would not be derailed. Last month, property adviser Christie & Co also predicted that pharmacy sales are set to continue for the remainder of 2017.

Brussels releases criteria to host EU agencies after Brexit
Politico, Helene Collis, 23 May 2017

Countries bidding to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority have until 31st July to submit their entries. A European Commission document setting out the criteria to host the two U.K.-based agencies after Brexit states that no country can host both agencies. The winning entry will need a majority of votes from fellow EU members; the final decision is anticipated by October at the latest.

Parliamentary Coverage

There is no Parliamentary Coverage.

Full Coverage

Brussels releases criteria to host EU agencies after Brexit
Politico, Helene Collis, 23 May 2017

Countries bidding to host the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority have until July 31 to submit their entries, according to a European Commission document.

In details setting out the criteria to host the two prized U.K.-based agencies after Brexit, the document states that no country can host both agencies.

To select the winner, there will be repeated rounds of voting resulting in a final of two countries. The winning entry will need a majority of votes from fellow EU members. The final decision is anticipated by October at the latest.

The document, obtained by the Financial Times and authored by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU President Donald Tusk, noted the “desirability of geographical spread of the agencies,” alluding to the fact that Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Cyprus and Slovakia currently host none of the EU’s bodies.

However, the presidents noted this principle of placing agencies, endorsed in 2003, only related to the establishment of new, as opposed to existing, ones.

Minimizing disruption of services is “vital”; winning cities must ensure “business continuity” at the time of Brexit, the document said.

Providing sufficient housing, hotel accommodation and schooling all feature prominently. The EMA will require 30,000 hotel nights per year and the EBA will need 9,000, the FT reported.

The EMA staff will require international school places for 648 children.

Regarding the EMA, the winner must be able to house its off-site archive of 34,000 boxes.

Government and PSNC must reach a settlement on pharmacy contract, say MPs

30 June 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal

 

The All Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) stated the government and PSNC must reach a settlement on the community pharmacy contractual framework. This recommendation is part of a report looking at the role of primary and community care within the NHS Five Year Forward View. Sir Kevin Barron explained that the government and the sector ought to agree on a common way forward to ultimately achieve better patient care.

 

The Support Your Local Pharmacy petition launched against the announced cuts to the sector funding has now reached 2 million signatures.  The news was reported by The Pharmaceutical Journal and Pharmacy Business.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons Questions, Drugs: Prices, 30 June 2016

 

Keith Vaz, MP: What measures are in place to regulate the prices of everyday drugs sold to the NHS by pharmaceutical companies.

 

Department of Health

 

George Freeman, MP: There are arrangements in place to ensure that the prices paid by the National Health Service for medicines provide value for money for the NHS. The prices and the profits made on the sales of branded medicines to the NHS are controlled by the voluntary Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme. If a company chooses not to join the voluntary scheme, it falls under a statutory scheme which controls the prices of branded medicines.

 

The Department does not control the price of generic medicines; instead it relies on competition to drive down prices. A report in 2010 by the National Audit Office showed that the reimbursement arrangements had delivered savings for the NHS of £1.8 billion between 2005/6 and 2008/09.

 

Concerns about possible anti-competitive behaviour by pharmaceutical companies are investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The Department and the CMA work closely together on such matters. The CMA is committed to investigating suspected infringements of competition law, including suspected excessive pricing in the pharmaceutical sector. The CMA has strong powers of investigation and, where it finds that a firm has breached competition law, it may impose penalties of up to 10% of a company’s worldwide turnover.

 

The CMA has been asked by the Secretary of State to undertake further work to look into specific instances of excessive pricing.

 

Full Coverage

Government and PSNC must reach a settlement on pharmacy contract, say MPs

30 June 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal

 

The All Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) says the government and Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) must reach a settlement on the community pharmacy contractual framework, warning that an imposed contract could hamper the development of the sector.

 

The APPG recommendation is part of a report on its inquiry into primary and community care, launched in October 2015, which set out to understand the role of community pharmacy within the NHS Five Year Forward View.

 

Sir Kevin Barron, chair of the APPG, says: “Our inquiry found that there is a gulf between government and community pharmacy on their plans for the sector. Both sides, ultimately, want better care for patients. That is best achieved by agreeing a common way forward, saving us from an acrimonious contract imposition.”

 

The report sets out recommendations for the future of community pharmacy, but the APPG cautions that without agreement from the government, as well as an unclear picture of future funding, pharmacies may be held back from making progress.

 

“We know as long as uncertainty hangs over the sector, we’ll see less investment in patient care. Only if both sides strike a deal can we avoid the dangerous distraction of contract imposition,” Barron adds.

 

The report advocates a clinically focused community pharmacy service that can help relieve pressure on hospital emergency departments and GP practices. It includes several recommendations for how this can be achieved, including a focus on investment in technology, developing professionalism and integrating pharmacy into primary care.

 

It says that dispensing is still the core service of community pharmacy, but should be harnessed more frequently as an opportunity for other health interventions. The report says that progress to this end has been too slow and the funding model for community pharmacy needs to incentivise service delivery rather than dispensing. It says the proposals put forward by the Department of Health in December 2015 to introduce a single activity fee for each prescription does the opposite.

 

The report also calls on the government to address concerns that funding cuts will result in pharmacy closures.

 

The PSNC has also submitted a set of counterproposals to the Department of Health and NHS England, which it says would achieve the government’s intended savings without cutting community pharmacy services. The APPG says that these deserve a detailed response.

 

Petition against pharmacy cuts reaches 2 million signatures

30 June 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal

 

A further 200,000 Support Your Local Pharmacy petition signatures were sent to the government on 30 June 2016, bringing the total to more than 2 million.

 

In a covering letter to prime minister David Cameron, Ian Strachan, chair of the National Pharmacy Association, which is leading the campaign, urges the government to reconsider the Department of Health’s proposals to cut funding to the pharmacy contract, which could lead to the closure of 3,000 pharmacies.

 

The government is due to report back to parliament in July 2016 following a consultation on the proposals.

 

The letter, also signed by Sue Sharpe, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, and Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, says: “Decisions taken in the next few weeks could have irreversible consequences for patients and communities up and down the country.

 

“The current circumstances within government provide an opportunity to reconsider these proposals to ensure that your ministers do not set in motion a chain of events leading to the closure of community pharmacies up and down the country,” it adds.

 

The pharmacy leaders also say that the proposals, which include an increased use of technology for remote medicines supply, would mean growing numbers of people obtaining medicines without seeing a pharmacist face to face. They say this would undermine the role pharmacists play in ensuring patients get the best from their medicines and ensuring the value of the NHS’ investment in those medicines.

 

The trio previously wrote to David Cameron on 24 May 2016 when the Department of Health consultation closed, at which time the petition – which calls on the government to “abandon plans that put pharmacy services at risk” – had around 1.8 million signatures. They say it is the largest healthcare petition in UK history.

 

PHARMACY PETITION AGAINST CUTS HITS 2 MILLION SIGNATURES

30 June 2016, Pharmacy Business, Neil Trainis

 

Community pharmacy’s campaign to persuade a government shrouded in uncertainty and riven by divisions post-Brexit to reconsider its plan to cut pharmacy funding intensifies today with the delivery of another 200,000 signatures to its petition at Downing Street.

 

The Support Your Local Pharmacy campaign which achieved 1.8 million signatures before being handed to outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron at Number 10 last month gains fresh momentum at a time when the government is at a crossroads and the identity of the UK’s new leader unclear.

 

The latest signatories takes the number of signatures to two million and heaps more pressure on ministers to rethink plans to cut pharmacy’s 2016-17 budget by £170 million and encourage hub and spoke dispensing and the online supply of medicines.

 

In a letter to Cameron, pharmacy letters warn: “Decisions taken in the next few weeks could have irreversible consequences for patients and communities up and down the country. The current circumstances within government provide an opportunity to reconsider (Department of Health) proposals, to ensure that your ministers do not set into motion a chain of events leading to the closure of community pharmacies up and down the country.”

 

The petition reads: “We, the undersigned, believe that local pharmacies are a vital front-line health service and part of the fabric of communities across England.

 

“Under new government proposals, many pharmacies could be forced to close, depriving people of accessible medicines advice and other valuable support from trusted professionals.

 

“It would also put more pressure on GPs and hospital services. In the interests of patient care, we urge the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary to abandon plans that put pharmacy services at risk.”

Revealed: Funding plans could increase multiples’ dominance

28 April 2016, Chemist & Druggist, Beth Kennedy

 

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has published The Department of Health’s (DH) source papers that informed initial discussions about cuts. The papers show the DH recognises that large chains may dominate the sector after the cuts, but thinks that the current model of pharmacy funding encourages clustering and does not offer incentives to provide a quality service.

 

The documents were also analysed by the Good Health Suite.

 

Chemist and Druggist also reports that London pharmacies may be hit by the funding cuts the hardest, according to Pharmacy London.

 

2016-04 Item-Level Only? A Closer Look at the Real EU-FMD Requirements

5 May 2016, Packaging Europe, Christoph Krähenbühl

 

Packaging Europe challenges the assumption that the European Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) will be felt primarily by the pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacists, suggesting that it will also have a major impact on wholesalers and distributors. The article bases this claim off Chapter V of the DR which states that wholesalers must verify authenticity of products in their ‘physical possession’.

 

HDA welcomes PSNC proposals for enhanced role for pharmacy.

5 May 2016, HDA

 

The HDA welcomes the recent PSNC publication of plans for community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond as a credible and thoughtful set of proposals that as an Association we would urge the Government to consider.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons, Written Answers, Drugs, 4 May 2016

 

Asked by Frank Field (MP): If his Department will reconsider the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority exemption which prior to 2013 enabled organisations to send surplus medicines to (a) developing countries and (b) other countries outside of the EEA.

 

Department of Health

 

Answered by George Freeman (MP): The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is the government body responsible for the safety and licensing of human medicines in the United Kingdom. The supply of a medicine for human use by way of wholesale requires the holding of a wholesale dealer’s licence. Following the transposition of the European Falsified Medicines Directive, the provisions of which are intended to prevent counterfeit medicines from entering the regulated supply chain, this requirement was extended to the export of medicines outside of Europe by way of wholesale from October 2013. The Directive does not allow any exception or exemption from this requirement.

 

House of Commons, Written Answers, Pharmacy; Finance, 4 May 2016

 

Asked by Michael Dugher (MP): If he will make an assessment of the effect of the budget reduction for community pharmacy in 2016-17 on high street vacancy rates.

 

Department of Health

 

Answered by Alistair Burt (MP): Community pharmacy is a vital part of the National Health Service and can play an even greater role. In the Spending Review, the Government re-affirmed the need for the NHS to deliver £22 billion in efficiency savings by 2020/21 as set out in the NHS’s own plan, the Five Year Forward View. Community pharmacy is a core part of NHS primary care and has an important contribution to make as the NHS rises to these challenges. The Government believes efficiencies can be made without compromising the quality of services or public access to them. Our aim is to ensure that those community pharmacies upon which people depend continue to thrive and so we are consulting on the introduction of a Pharmacy Access Scheme, which will provide more NHS funds to certain pharmacies compared to others, considering factors such as location and the health needs of the local population.

 

Full Coverage

Further details of pharmacy contract change proposals published

4 May 2016, Good Health Suite

 

Pharmacy organisations have learnt more about the proposals to change the community pharmacy contract at a Department of Health briefing.

 

A meeting on April 28 took place for pharmacy stakeholders at which the Department of Health addressed proposals in its Community Pharmacy Review. Discussions centred around the themes of the proposed Pharmacy Integration Fund, the Pharmacy Access Scheme, and issues around quality and services.

 

A background pack prepared for pharmacy stakeholders by the Department and the Department’s presentation slides have been made public. The background pack includes an interim summary of consultation responses (submitted to NHS England and the DoH up until February 12) as well as ‘source papers’ that were produced to inform initial discussions with the PSNC. “These ‘source papers’ were shared on a confidential basis with PSNC in February, and are now historic, but they will provide useful context for pharmacy contractors and other stakeholders,” said PSNC.

 

The Pharmacy Integration Fund has been proposed to support work across primary care and to involve pharmacy services in primary care settings such as GP surgeries and care homes. The funding would target aspects such as medicines optimisation, while developing infrastructure support with aspects including workforce development, digital integration and referral pathways.

 

Among concerns acknowledged by the Department were questions over the sustainability of funding, whether pharmacists employed by general practice is going to be the only form of integration, and whether there could be conflicts of interests in supplying care homes. The Department has indicated that it will now establish governance arrangements for allocation of the Pharmacy Integration Fund and confirm the legal framework.

 

In terms of funding and the Pharmacy Access Scheme, the Department said it proposed to phase out the establishment payment over a number of years, removing around £25,000 per year for all pharmacies dispensing 2,500 or more prescriptions a month. In addition, the proposed Pharmacy Access Scheme “will provide more NHS funds to certain pharmacies compared with others, considering factors such as location and the health needs of the local population.” In addition, there will be a simplified NHS pharmacy remuneration payment system based on a single activity fee.

 

“We propose that a pharmacy access scheme would be a centrally-determined national scheme with two key elements,” said the Department. “These two elements combined would determine which pharmacies should be protected, which would be published in a list:

 

a formula based on population and pharmacy location data as well as population size and needs, which would be used to generate an index of pharmacies, giving a ‘score’ of importance for patient access for each pharmacy in England;

qualification criteria based on the index of importance for patient access, and used to set a fixed criteria for entry to the scheme, such as “a score of higher than ‘x’ on the index, or the top 1,000 pharmacies etc”.

Among those invited to the meeting were Pharmacy Voice, representing pharmacy owner organisations, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the Local Government Association, the General Pharmaceutical Council, the Association of Pharmacy Technicians (APTUK), and National Voices, the coalition of healthcare charities in England.

 

PSNC had published a set of counter proposals ahead of the meeting, and has since said it will publish further information shortly on the counter proposals it submitted to the Department and “proposals for a quality payment to be included within the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework.”

 

The National Pharmacy Association will host a webinar, ‘Cuts and Efficiencies: The Facts’, on the evening of May 12. Among the questions to be addressed in the free online webinar will be:

 

  • what does a 6% cut in remuneration actually mean?
  • could pharmacies be forced to close, and what has the Government actually said about closures?
  • is hub and spoke actually safer, as the Government claims?
  • is being in a cluster of pharmacies a bad thing?
  • are the Government’s proposals driven by patient demand?
  • is the Support Your Local Pharmacy campaign having an effect?

 

 

2016-04 Item-Level Only? A Closer Look at the Real EU-FMD Requirements

5 May 2016, Packaging Europe, Christoph Krähenbühl

 

It is almost five years to the day – 8th June 2011 – since the EU-FMD (Directive 2011/62/EU) was adopted by the European Parliament and the European Council. As we know, this ‘Falsified Medicines Directive’ set out in broad strokes the legal requirements on the stakeholders in the European Healthcare Supply Chain.

 

The Directive was followed on 19th February 2016 by the ‘Safety Features’ Delegated Regulation (DR 2016/161) alongside a Q&A document issued by the European Commission; both documents have given us much more details of what compliance with the EU-FMD means.

 

The publication has also set the end date of the three-year implementation deadline across Europe as the 19th February 2019 for at least 25 of the 28 European Member States, plus the 3 EEA countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, in addition to Switzerland, Belgium, Greece and Italy, who have been granted a longer implementation timeline which they may, however, not wish to use.

 

Now is the time to examine the requirements more closely and understand the full impact of this important legislation. A closer look, in fact, reveals some interesting areas aside from the well-established basic requirements. One area, in particular, has so far not received much attention. This is the question of what the impact will be on the various stakeholders, other than pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacists.

 

The assumption so far has been that the impact would be felt particularly by the pharmaceutical manufacturers and the pharmacists, but that other stakeholders are getting off lightly by comparison – for example, in the US – where the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) legislation sets out a full end-to-end drugs traceability process involving all trading partners by 2023 – placing a significant obligation on all trading partners in the pharma supply chain, especially wholesalers and distributors.

 

But a closer examination of the EU-FMD requirements – especially those set out in Chapter V of the DR  – shows that the differences between the US traceability approach and the European point-of-dispense approach may be much smaller, and that there may, in fact, be a lot more to the EU-FMD requirements for wholesalers and distributors than a first glance reveals. Potentially, this will have a major impact on wholesalers, distributors and, by implication, their main trading partners – the pharmaceutical manufacturers.

 

The first concerns ‘risk-based’ verification. It is true that the EU-FMD does not require full end-to-end tracking of the medicines as they make their way through the distribution chain, i.e. it does not oblige wholesalers to systematically scan all shipments as they pass through their hands. But Article 20 of the DR clearly sets out scenarios where wholesalers will be obliged to verify the authenticity of the UI of the products in their ‘physical possession’ to ensure that the pack in question is not marked as blocked, dispensed, exported etc.

 

This applies to all returns and for all products not received directly from the manufacturer or the manufacturer’s official distributor. While this will only cover a limited share of the medicinal products flowing through the European supply chain, a quick calculation shows that the number of checks that must be carried out will not be insignificant.

 

It is also worth taking a peek across the pond to compare notes with the situation in the United States; in particular, the letters that were sent in January 2016 by McKesson and more recently by CardinalHealth – two of the three major distributors in the US supply chain – to all their pharma manufacturer trading partners. These letters deal with the obligation that will arise in November 2019, on distributors such as McKesson and CardinalHealth under the terms of the DSCSA, to verify all the saleable returns they handle. McKesson calculate that even a small percentage of returned goods mean they will need to carry out 18 million verifications every year.

 

The conclusion is that this can, realistically and cost-effectively, only be achieved if their pharma manufacturer partners do their bit; they would need to provide McKesson with the electronic data, including not only the item serial numbers, but also aggregated data up to shipment. This would allow the scan to be carried out at an aggregated level – shipper case, pallet, even shipment – to check the Unique Identifiers of all contained individual pharmaceutical item sales packs.

 

The message McKesson gives to their pharma manufacturing partners is very clear: “As your company prepares to implement your serialization solution, please be sure to consider the need for aggregation.” The Cardinal letter is even more direct: “Aggregation is necessary to efficiently provide serial numbers as part of Transaction Information and to easily move product through the supply chain. Cardinal Health expects that manufacturers will aggregate individual units up to the case level.”

 

So even though aggregation is an explicit US requirement only in the 2023 time-frame, major trading partners are issuing implicit requirements to establish aggregation and aggregated data exchange capability far earlier than the explicit legal requirement.

 

Given the comparable numbers of sales packs flowing through the European healthcare supply chain that fall under this risk-based verification requirement, it would be a fair assumption that manufacturers will start receiving ‘McKesson letters’ in the not too distant future that will ask them to seriously consider establishing the technical and process capabilities to supply their goods as well as the corresponding data in aggregated form.

 

In fact, the issue may become more urgent in Europe because of further requirements listed in Chapter V of the DR, where wholesalers would be required to scan the packs they manage systematically that extend beyond the returns use case. Article 22 – Decommissioning of Unique Identifiers by Wholesalers –deals with UIs of packs exported from Europe, whilst Article 23 recognises the need to accommodate the rich variety of processes across Europe by allowing Member States to define additional points in their national supply chains when the verification of the safety features and the decommissioning can be delegated to wholesalers.

 

How the Member States will interpret this provision is not yet clear, but given the primary aim of the EU-FMD legislation – to protect patients by closing all loopholes through which counterfeit medicines might infiltrate the legal medicines supply chain – it would be a safe assumption that national authorities will want to maximise the powers granted to them by the European legislation.

 

Likewise, whilst we don’t yet know what the details of these interactions are, it is likely that this obligation on wholesalers will, in turn, extend to pharmaceutical manufacturers. It is therefore likely that we will see bilateral agreement being sought by wholesalers with their pharmaceutical manufacturer trading partners that will demand not only the aggregation of physical products but also the provision of the corresponding data asset, including item, case, pallet and possibly shipment aggregation.

 

The conclusion is that the established view that European Requirements are item-level only is too narrow a view to take. True, the data reporting to the European Hub will be sales pack item UIs – as will the scan at the pharmacy – checking back against the connected National Systems.

 

But in order to support the physical and logical flow through the European Medicines supply chain in a cost-effective way for all stakeholders, 3C Excellis Europe are certainly advising all customers to aim their systems and processes to be aggregation-ready from the start.

 

For more information, visit www.3cintegrity.com

 

 

HDA welcomes PSNC proposals for enhanced role for pharmacy.

5 May 2016, HDA

 

The Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK) welcomes the recent PSNC publication of plans for community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond as a credible and thoughtful set of proposals that as an Association we would urge the Government to consider.

 

The HDA is particularly supportive of the suggestion for pharmacists to be responsible for emergency, out of hours, prescription provision, to eliminate the need for patients to go via a doctor for vital medicines. Our members provide emergency supplies of drugs to pharmacies across the four nations of the United Kingdom and would be well placed to support pharmacy in the delivery of such a service. It is clear that an important part of any reform of pharmacy must be enabling the sector help relieve pressures on GPs and A&E through taking an enhanced role within the NHS.

 

Another suggestion that the HDA agrees with the PSNC is the broadening of the pharmacy-led flu vaccination programme. Successful trials in areas such as London and Manchester have demonstrated that patients appreciate the flexibility and convenience of receiving their annual flu vaccination in pharmacy. HDA member wholesalers are crucial to such a scheme as they are able to deliver the vaccines to the pharmacy as and when they are required, through the twice daily deliveries offered by all our full members. This is a far more efficient model, as it avoids unnecessary storage and wastage of flu vaccines.

 

Finally, the HDA is in favour of the generic substitution service included in PSNC’s plan. The HDA’s predecessor the BAPW, supported the substitution of branded medicines for their generic equivalents during the last round of negotiations on the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme as it is a safe and efficient way for the NHS to save money on its medicines bill. As new innovations are introduced by pharmaceutical manufacturers it is increasingly important that the Government uses its scarce resources wisely, in order to deliver the best treatments for patients.

 

The HDA’s support for PSNC’s proposals is yet another example of the strength of the collaboration seen in the medicines supply chain, which sees the HDA working closely with partners at the regional, national and international level, across pharmacy, dispensing doctors and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

 

The PSNC’s counter proposal to the Government’s plans for community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond is available here.

NPA petition reaches one million signatures, so what next?

3 May 2016, Chemist & Druggist, Beth Kennedy

 

The NPA Support Your Local Pharmacy Campaign petition has reached over one million signatures and will be presented to Downing Street on May 24, the same day the Government consultation is due to close. NPA head of communications, Stephen Fishwick, stated that the campaign will now be focused on parliamentary outreach and in particular MP’s in relevant constituencies.

 

The Pharmaceutical Journal and Pharmacy Biz also report on the NPA petition.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

 

There is no Parliamentary Coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

Support Your Local Pharmacy petition attracts 1,000,000 signatures

3 May 2016, The Pharmaceutical Journal

 

A petition against government plans to slash £170m from the community pharmacy budget in England has attracted 1 million signatures.

 

Campaigners say the petition is the largest ever health-related petition of its kind in the UK, with an estimated 30,000 patients or customers signing the Support Your Local Pharmacy petition every day. The petition is due to be presented to Downing Street in May 2016.

 

Ian Strachan, chair of the National Pharmacy Association, which launched the petition in February 2016 in Elephant and Castle, south London, says: “The government seems to think that putting a few hundred pharmacists into GP practices is a good swap for the loss of potentially 3,000 community pharmacies. I disagree. And so do at least a million patients and concerned citizens.”

 

Rob Darracott, chief executive of the community pharmacy organisation Pharmacy Voice, says the support reflects the value that the public has for community pharmacy.

 

Sue Sharpe, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, adds: “The public seems to recognise what the government so far has not: that community pharmacy teams are vital front-line NHS providers who can give face-to-face healthcare advice and support at a time and place that is convenient for patients.”

 

The petition calls on the prime minister and health secretary to abandon proposed cuts to community pharmacy funding because of fears that they will threaten pharmacy services and force many pharmacies to close, putting pressure on GPs and hospital services.

 

 

NPA petition opposing Government cuts hits one million signatures

3 May 2016, Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis

 

A petition launched by the National Pharmacy Association designed to force the government into reconsidering its swingeing cuts to pharmacy funding has hit one million signatures.

 

The Support Your Local Pharmacy Campaign petition achieved its milestone amid widespread concern amongst members of the public at efficiency measures which could culminate in the closure of community pharmacies and damaging consequences to public health.

 

The NPA said its campaign prompted 30,000 patients “and concerned citizens” to register their objections to the cuts on a daily basis.

 

“I’d be lost without my pharmacy, they take such good care of me. It’s crazy that any politician would think it’s ok to take this kind of support away from patients and other people in need of health care,” Lil Benson, a 90-year-old patient and constant visitor to Daveys Chemists in Liverpool, said having signed the petition.

 

Ian Strachan, chairman of the NPA, said: “It is now absolutely clear that the Department of Health has misjudged how people feel about local pharmacies.

 

“Patients value the face-to-face support they get at local pharmacies; getting medicines online or seeing a pharmacist by appointment in a GP surgery is not faintly equivalent to the accessible care available in pharmacies.

 

“The government seems to think that putting a few hundred pharmacists into GP practices is a good swap for the loss of potentially 3000 community pharmacies. I disagree. And so do at least a million patients and concerned citizens.”

 

The NPA said it will take the petition to Downing Street this month.

3rd Pharmaceutical Traceability Forum to attract expert serialization and packaging professionals from across the nation

29 April 2016, European Pharmaceutical Review

 

The 3rd Pharmaceutical Traceability Forum will this year focus on achieving global serialization, urging supply chain stakeholders to take a comprehensive view of their traceability strategy to remain ahead of deadlines. The Forum will hear from over 25 speakers that have seen success in innovative serialization programmes.

 

A million people say No to pharmacy cuts

2 May 2016, P3 Pharmacy

 

The Support Your Local Pharmacy Campaign has reached its millionth signature. Ian Strachan, NPA chairman, Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, and Sue Sharpe, chief executive of PSNC, have all commended the public support and further stressed the importance of community pharmacy. The petition will be delivered to Downing Street in May.

 

Pharmacy bodies plan a Pharmacy Forward View

29 April 2016, P3 Pharmacy

 

Pharmacy bodies and the consumer organisation Healthwatch, met with the Department of Health on 28 April for a one-day workshop to discuss proposals to reform community pharmacy. Following this workshop, Pharmacy Voice, PSNC and other pharmacy organisations have started working on a Community Pharmacy Forward View proposal, due to be released shortly, that will look at ways to put pharmacy on a sustainable footing focus on patient outcomes, rather than service provision.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

 

There is no Parliamentary Coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

3rd Pharmaceutical Traceability Forum to attract expert serialization and packaging professionals from across the nation

29 April 2016, European Pharmaceutical Review

 

Harmonize serialization plans to achieve compliance. Supply chain stakeholders must take a comprehensive view of their traceability strategy to remain ahead of approaching deadlines.

 

Designed to address the diverse challenges, the Pharmaceutical Traceability Forum is a peer-to-peer exchange on achieving global serialization. Gain an in-depth perspective on the ever-changing international deadlines, data interoperability, and explore cutting-edge pilot programs in our dynamic workshops.

 

Hear 25+ speakers with new innovated programs put in place by top companies in our unique case studies and sector-specific roundtables:

 

  • Director of Serialization Technologies – McKesson
  • Director, Global Brand Protection – Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • North America Regional Project Leader – Sanofi Pasteur
  • Senior Director of Secure Supply Chain – AmerisourceBergen
  • Associate Director, Product Security & Outbound Logistics – EMD Serono
  • Global Serialization Enterprise Master Data Lead – Pfizer
  • Global Program Serialization Lead – Sandoz
  • Brand Technologies Manager and Global Product Security – Takeda Pharmaceuticals
  • Senior Director Industry Development- GS1 US

 

“We’re pleased to participate in this collaborative, comprehensive forum alongside industry thought leaders,” said Verify Brand CEO, Michael Howe. “With more than a decade of experience providing serialization and traceability solutions, Verify Brand is excited to share with conference attendees how they can successfully meet U.S. and global compliance requirements, as well as how serialization can uncover additional business value beyond compliance.”

 

 

A million people say No to pharmacy cuts

2 May 2016, P3 Pharmacy

 

The Support Your Local Pharmacy Campaign petition collected its millionth signature. It is on course to become the largest petition currently circulating in the UK and is already by far the largest healthcare related petition, said the National Pharmacy Association.

 

Approximately 30,000 more patients and concerned citizens are registering their objections each day to Department of Health plans to cut local pharmacy services, said the NPA.

 

Ian Strachan, NPA chairman, commented that the Department of Health had misjudged the public’s strength of support. “It is now absolutely clear that the Department of Health has misjudged how people feel about local pharmacies. Patients value the face-to-face support they get at local pharmacies; getting medicines online or seeing a pharmacist by appointment in a GP surgery is not faintly equivalent to the accessible care available in pharmacies. The Government seems to think that putting a few hundred pharmacists into GP practices is a good swap for the loss of potentially 3,000 community pharmacies. I disagree. And so do at least a million patients and concerned citizens.”

 

The response to the petition shows how valuable community pharmacy services are, said Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice. “The vast support that the public has shown for community pharmacy by signing up in the hundreds of thousands to the petition shows just how valuable our services are as part of primary care in England. Many of the most vulnerable people rely on community pharmacies for medicine, public health services and easily accessible healthcare advice. At a time when we know GP services are overstretched it would be madness to disinvest in the healthcare professionals ready to help you on the high street.”

 

Sue Sharpe, chief executive of PSNC, praised the hard work of pharmacy teams in gaining public support. “It is fantastic to hear that more than one million people have now signed the petition in support of community pharmacy. This is down to the hard work that pharmacy teams have been putting in to get behind the campaign to show the value and importance of our services. In the month leading up to the close of the consultation we must keep this pressure up. We know just how much local communities across England value their community pharmacies and their support for this petition proves that. The public seems to recognise what the Government so far has not: that community pharmacy teams are vital front-line NHS providers who can give face-to-face healthcare advice and support at a time and place that is convenient for patients.”

 

The petition will be delivered to Downing Street in May. It reads:

“We, the undersigned, believe that local pharmacies are a vital frontline health service and part of the fabric of communities across England. Under new Government proposals, many pharmacies could be forced to close – depriving people of accessible medicines advice and other valuable support from trusted professionals. It would also put more pressure on GPs and hospital services. In the interests of patient care, we urge the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary to abandon plans that put pharmacy services at risk.”

 

 

Pharmacy bodies plan a Pharmacy Forward View

29 April 2016, P3 Pharmacy

 

Pharmacy Voice, PSNC, and other pharmacy organisations, are starting work on a Community Pharmacy Forward View proposal, chief executive, Rob Darracott, has said. This comes after pharmacy bodies, and consumer organisation Healthwatch, met with Department of Health officials on 28 April for a one-day workshop to discuss proposals to reform community pharmacy.

 

The meeting with DH emphasised the importance of clear thinking on behalf of community pharmacy about the future, said Mr Darracott.

 

“After a difficult week and a half, culminating in the GP Forward View announcement of dramatically increased funding, seemingly at our expense, it is harder to focus on trying to secure a positive future for the network with harsh funding cuts still planned from October. But the meeting, and the topics discussed, reminded us that we are engaged in a consultation entitled “Community pharmacy: 2016/17 and beyond”. For us in Pharmacy Voice, it is crucial that we are clear where we are trying to get to, in responding to the Government proposals, and that requires us to think several years ahead and break out of the one-year settlement mindset that can often entrap us.

 

The Community Pharmacy Forward View is expected to be shared “very soon”, in advance of the DH’s 24 May deadline for their consultation, said Mr Darracott. It is likely to look at ways to put pharmacy on a sustainable footing focus on patient outcomes rather than service provision, said Pharmacy Voice. “We are working principally with PSNC, but also with RPS, local pharmacy leaders, and informed by a range of external perspectives and challenge. We look forward to sharing this view with the sector and beyond very soon.”

 

Pharmacy Voice also commented on community pharmacy review that has been commissioned by NHS England from The King’s Fund, which is anticipated to run until October. The King’s Fund is expected to be assessing the need for community pharmacy clinical services in the context of NHS priorities and value for money for the taxpayer.

 

“The announcement of the independent review of community pharmacy services holds some threats to the sector, but the scope should allow a proper consideration of the work going on across the country to improve outcomes for patients. We will certainly do what we can to make sure the King’s Fund-led review is looking at the right things. However, we firmly believe the sector should decide where we want to be by the end of this spending review period. It must be our ideas that lead thinking on how the Integration Fund could get the greatest impact. We might recognise the need for efficiency and effectiveness, but we need to offer our own way forward and not think that the Department of Health and/or NHS England’s proposals represent the only way forward,” said Mr Darracott.

RPS: ‘Frustrating’ lack of detail about hub-and-spoke plans

07 April 2016, Chemist + Druggist, Beth Kennedy

 

Sarah Gidley, RPS English Pharmacy Board chair, described as “frustrating” the fact that the government had not published the data used to predict the benefits of hub-and-spoke dispensing. She added that without this data it was difficult to know whether or not the Government’s predictions were accurate.

 

NPA petition set to reach half a million signatures

07 April 2016, Chemist + Druggist, Annabelle Collins

 

The petition to battle against the pharmacy funding cuts, launched on February 18 by the NPA, has now reached more than 400,000 signatures. The NPA is confident it will reach half a million by the end of the week and is making “intensified efforts” to mobilise public and political opinion on the issue.

 

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Three more March concession prices added

22 March 2016, Alisa Colquhoun, Dispensing Doctor

 

The Department of Health has updated the reimbursement prices of three lines:

The price concession only applies to the month that it is granted.

 

  • Bumetanide 1mg tablets
  • Desmopressin 10micrograms/dose nasal spray
  • Flecainide 100mg tablets

 

No additional endorsements are required for price concessions.

 

Further coverage on the community pharmacy funding cuts can be found on Chemist and DruggistThe National Pharmacy Association and Pharmacy Biz.

 

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Government cuts to local pharmacies would put more pressure on GPs and hospitals

22 March 2016, National Pharmacy Association

 

New research conducted for the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has found that other health services could come under more pressure if the Government proceeds with plans to cut investment in local pharmacies.

 

The research, based on a survey of 2,000 people shows:

•             Two in five people would go their GP if it became more difficult to access their local pharmacy for the treatment of common conditions

•             Over a million people nationwide would go to A&E or other urgent care

The research also shows that two in three people use a pharmacy at least once a month and that 36% of the adult population has received advice on how to get best use of their medicines in the past six months. Most pharmacists offer confidential advice in a consulting room and 28% of the people surveyed said they had received such advice.

The research has been conducted during a Department of Health consultation on Community Pharmacy in 2016/17 and Beyond. The proposals include reduced NHS funding and encouragement for warehouse dispensing and online supply of medicines. The Government has admitted that up to 3000 pharmacies could close.

Ian Strachan, Chairman of the NPA said:

“The research confirms how much people really value the face-to-face advice they get at local pharmacies. It also shows that if you reduce people’s access to such advice, that simply puts extra pressure on GPs and hospitals, which are already stretched. The Department of Health says it wants efficiencies, yet its plans for pharmacy would build inefficiencies into the system.”

A campaign petition has already gathered 200,000 signatures from concerned patients. The petition urges the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary to abandon plans that put pharmacy services at risk.

 

Government refuses to accept its consultation is flawed

22 March 2016, Pharmacy Biz

 

The prospect of the pharmacy profession launching legal action against the government moved a step closer after ministers dug their heels in and refused to recognise that its consultation on funding cuts and austerity measures is flawed.

 

In a letter sent by lawyers representing the government to the law practice Charles Russell Speechlys, the government said it rejected the idea that the consultation, which was recently extended by two months, was not properly conducted.

 

The pharmacy profession has been up in arms over the controversial plans to cut pharmacy funding by 6% and introduce a hub and spoke dispensing model. But it is the way the consultation has been run which has caused particular consternation within pharmacy.

 

There is a widespread feeling that the government failed to give the pharmacy profession an adequate opportunity to respond and eight clients belonging to Charles Russell Speechlys indicated they were ready to take the government to court to challenge the validity of the consultation.

 

David Reissner, a partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, said the letter proved ministers had “not satisfactorily addressed”  issues over the validity of the consultation as highlighted in a letter sent by the law practice to the government on March 4.

 

“I received late on Friday afternoon a response from the government’s lawyers. It is a detailed letter,” Reissner said.

 

“The government refuses to accept that its “consultation” is flawed. My initial view is that the government has not satisfactorily addressed the case we set out in the letter sent to the minister on 4 March.”

PSNC Update: Department of Health extends community pharmacy consultation period

PSNC, 16 March 2016

 

The Department of Health has confirmed it will extend its consultation on the community pharmacy funding cuts to 24 May. The decision follows a request from PSNC to give more time to work out the details of the cuts.

 

2 Month extension for pharmacy cuts consultation

C&D, Annabelle Collins, 15 March 2016

 

The government has extended its consultation on the pharmacy funding cuts by two months and will now close on May 24. Talks on the pharmacy integration fund, which will support pharmacists to work closer with GP practices, care homes and urgent care settings, will still formally finish on March 24.

 

Pharmacy consultation extended to avoid legal action, Burt hints at inquiry

Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis, 16 March 2016

 

Pharmacy Biz reports that Alistair Burt, Minister of State for Community and Social Care, stated that the extension to the consultation on pharmacy funding cut would allow more time to consult with PSNC. This statement was part of an inquiry in front of the All-Party Pharmacy Group.

 

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PSNC Update: Department of Health extends community pharmacy consultation period

PSNC, 16 March 2016

 

The Department of Health (DH) has confirmed that it will extend its consultation on community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond for two months until 24th May.

 

The decision follows a request for the extension from PSNC in order to give time to work through the complex proposals being consulted on.

 

The consultation was launched via a public letter to PSNC sent on 17th December 2015. The letter set out a number of proposals for the sector including a reduction in funding of £170m for 2016/17, plans to enable all pharmacies to have access to hub and spoke dispensing, and to encourage optimisation of prescription duration. DH had originally set 24th March as the closing date for the consultation on the plans.

 

Pharmacy minister Alistair Burt announced the extension during a meeting of the All Party Pharmacy Group today (16th March 2016). The minister said the Government saw real potential for greater use of community pharmacy and that the extension of the consultation would give more time for it to develop its proposals working with PSNC and informed by other stakeholders.

 

PSNC is in discussions with the DH and NHS England, seeking to understand more about the plans and to ensure that community pharmacy’s role is recognised and developed.

 

PSNC Chief Executive Sue Sharpe commented:

“We are pleased that the Department of Health has agreed to our request for it to extend its consultation on the proposals for community pharmacy. The initial time given for a consultation of this scope and complexity was inadequate, and we had asked for a more realistic timescale. We will now continue our ongoing discussions with the Department of Health and NHS England, seeking to understand the rationale for the various proposals and to find ways to ensure that the services and value provided by community pharmacies are recognised and expanded in future.”

 

PSNC understands that DH will now hold another round of meetings with the stakeholders it first met with earlier this year but do not have any further details. We will be continuing our discussions with DH and NHS England. We would advise any LPCs with comments to make on the consultation to submit these as soon as possible. Contractors and their teams can continue to contribute to the campaign for community pharmacy, for example by supporting the Downing Street petition and sharing examples of the excellent patient care they are giving

 

Pharmacy consultation extended to avoid legal action, Burt hints at inquiry

Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis, 16 March 2016

 

The social care minister Alistair Burt appeared to concede to an All-Party Pharmacy Group inquiry into primary and community care today that the government extended its consultation on cuts to pharmacy funding to avert the possibility of legal action and said it would allow the profession more time to respond to the changes.

 

In what appeared to be an admission that the original consultation, which was due to end on March 24 but has now been extended to May 24, failed to give community pharmacy adequate time to respond, Burt said the extension would also give the government the time it needed to develop its plans with the PSNC.

 

It has emerged in recent days that eight clients represented by Charles Russell Speechlys are ready to take the government to court over the funding cuts and what David Reissner, a partner at the law practice, described as the lack of “a proper consultation.”

 

The PSNC said it asked the Department of Health to extend the consultation but it seems the threat of a legal battle may have spurred the government into a rethink.

 

“I want community pharmacy to continue to have a bright future and for the government to work collaboratively with the sector to deliver that future. That’s why I have announced that we’re extending the consultation period by two months,” Burt said.

 

“It will now close on the 24th of May. This will allow us more time to develop our proposals with the PSNC. This means that the early part of the consultation process will formally conclude on the 24th of March with the consultation on the Pharmacy Integration Fund.

 

“This is to enable arrangements for the distribution of money from the Fund to be put in place in the first part of the 2016-17 financial year. There will continue to be opportunities for reform and discussions about these arrangements.”

 

Burt added: “We want to make sure the consultation period feels as long as is necessary for people to make their responses.

 

“If we are to introduce the changes by October as we are bound to do, we’ll need to get a certain amount of time legally for those changes to be introduced and for people to have time to respond to the changes. That’s why we can’t go later than the 24th of May.

 

“Extending the period of consultation by a couple of months I hope demonstrates good faith on our part that we want to engage people.

 

“We want to make sure as many people as possible have an opportunity because the fine detail of this has to be worked out between the negotiators and the PSNC and that’s what’s going on at the moment.”

 

The extension to the consultation however looks like having no impact on the £170 million which the government has pledged to remove from pharmacy funding in 2016-17. Burt indicated that money was gone and ministers would not be swayed.

 

As far as community pharmacy is concerned, the challenge is to avoid bigger slices of revenue being taken in future.

 

“Savings have to be found across the board and that applies to pharmacy as well. It would be great to work in a world where everything new comes about because you put more money in and you can do more things with new things with new money,” Burt said.

 

“That can’t always be the case. And in pharmacy, the £2.63 billion still going in is not inconsiderable. But the savings that are found all over the NHS every day can’t exclude pharmacy.

 

“It is a general fallacy to believe that you can’t achieve more if actually less is being spent by government. If the whole of this debate is to be conducted solely under an argument ‘well, it’s all about this reduction in funding. If that reduction of funding wasn’t there we could move on,’ I’m afraid we can’t do that.

 

“The spending review has been settled and we are talking with the PSNC about how to deal with the consultation and the impact and to get movement and the changes we want to see.

 

“There is the Integration Fund, there is the (Pharmacy) Access Fund. There is an opportunity to do new things.”

 

Dr Keith Ridge, the chief pharmaceutical officer, also appeared before the inquiry and  expressed his belief that there are too many pharmacies, an admission that will fill the community pharmacy sector with apprehension.

 

“There are over 11,000 pharmacies in England and that’s a significant increase over the last few years. And that growth is paid for by the NHS,” he said.

 

“We believe these efficiencies can be made without compromising quality. We know there are more pharmacies than are necessary to maintain good access.”

2 Month extension for pharmacy cuts consultation

C&D, Annabelle Collins, 15 March 2016

 

The government has extended its consultation on the pharmacy funding cuts by two months and will now close on May 24. Talks on the pharmacy integration fund, which will support pharmacists to work closer with GP practices, care homes and urgent care settings, will still formally finish on March 24.

 

Community pharmacy warning on funding cuts

Pharma Times, Selina McKee, 15 March 2016

 

The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that community pharmacies are at risk of going out of business due to the planned funding cuts. This may leave many isolated and vulnerable residents struggling to access medicine, especially in deprived areas.

 

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Community pharmacy warning on funding cuts

Pharma Times, Selina McKee, 15 March 2016

 

Community pharmacies are at risk of going out of business because of planned cuts to funding, which could potentially pull the plug on a vital lifeline for many elderly and vulnerable patients, the Local Government Association (LGA) is warning.

 

The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils, says that a 6% reduction in the NHS budget for community pharmacy planned for 2016/17 – equating to a cash shortfall of some £170 million – could force many businesses across the country to close.

 

This could leave many isolated and vulnerable residents, particularly in deprived areas, struggling to access pharmacies for their potentially life-saving medicines, it argues, noting that for some people the local pharmacy is their only contact with a healthcare professional.

 

The government is currently consulting on plans to use clinical pharmacists in primary care settings such as GP practices, but the LGA instead envisages a much bigger role for community pharmacists in future, to help alleviate the growing pressures on hospitals and practices.

 

Councils believe that local pharmacies should be expanded within their communities, providing important public health services such as health checks, smoking cessation, sexual health, screening and immunisations, in addition to dispensing and selling medicines.

 

“Maintaining community pharmacies is crucial to keeping older and frail people independent. They need to be at the heart of communities, close to where people shop, work and go about their daily lives, rather than the heart of the NHS,” said Izzi Seccombe, LGA Community Wellbeing spokeswoman.

 

Calling for additional investment she stressed: “Being at the heart of communities means pharmacies see people in every state of health and are ideally placed to play a central role in the prevention of illness, which can reduce costs and pressures on the NHS and adult social care”.

PSNC still in dark on cuts as consultation deadline looms

C&D, Annabelle Collins and Samuel Horti, 11 March 2016

 

The government has still not released full information on the planned 6% cut to community pharmacy despite the deadline for consultation with the PSNC and other pharmacy bodies ending in two weeks’ time. The PSNC has stated it is still waiting for the detail it needs to make an “informed response”.

 

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