HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 26 May 2016

Drug recall – Epistatus (midazolam) oromucosal solution 10mg/1ml

26 May 2016, NPA


The MHRA issued a patient level recall for Epistatus (midazolam) oromucosal solution 10mg/1ml.




The NPA petition against the community pharmacy funding cuts was delivered to Downing Street, having been signed by over 1.8 million people. The full story was covered by C&DPharmacy Biz and P3 Pharmacy.


Further coverage of the debate around the cuts can be found in Pharmacy Biz.


C&D provides an overview of the sector’s response to the hub and spoke consultation.


Parliamentary Coverage


There is no Parliamentary coverage today.


Full Coverage

Drug recall – Epistatus (midazolam) oromucosal solution 10mg/1ml

26 May 2016, NPA


A batch of Epistatus oromucosal solution 10mg/1ml is being recalled by Special Products Limited.


Class 2 medicines recall – Action within 48 hours – Patient level recall (Ref: EL (16)A/06)

Epistatus (midazolam) oromucosal solution 10mg/1ml (Manufactured by Dales Pharmaceuticals, MS 123, and distributed by Special Products Limited)


Unlicensed special

Batch number Expiry date Pack size First distributed
73234 October 2017 1 x 5ml 24 February 2016


The above batch number of Epistatus oromucosal solution 10mg/1ml is being recalled by Special Products Limited. This is due to the neck adaptor in a large number of bottles being the incorrect size and incompatible with the oral syringes. Pictures of the correct and incorrect adaptor can be found in the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency drug alert.


Healthcare professionals will need to check their current stock of Epistatus oromucosal solution 10mg/1ml, quarantine any stock found and return it to the original supplier.


Patients or carers who have been dispensed an affected batch of Epistatus oromucosal solution 10mg/1ml will need to be contacted and informed of the recall. If they have received an affected batch, then:

  • The batch does not need to be returned if a dose has already been administered with the correct adaptor
  • The batch should be returned to the pharmacy if it has not been opened, or if it has been opened and has the incorrect adaptor
  • Midazolam is a Schedule 3 Controlled Drug; please contact the NPA Pharmacy Services team on 01727 891 800 for guidance on replacing any returned stock


For stock return and medical information queries, contact Special Products Limited by telephone on 01932 690 325 and then follow the options given.


Further information can be found on the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) section on the GOV.UK website.



25 May 2016, Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis


he National Pharmacy Association fulfilled a promise it made months ago to come to Downing Street and deliver a petition to David Cameron aimed at dissuading the government from cutting pharmacy’s funding and introducing other controversial efficiency measures.


The pharmacy profession’s intense campaign to stop ministers reducing its 2016-17 budget to the tune of £170 million gathered pace and arrived right on the doorstep of number 10 with the clear message that pharmacy is not prepared to go away with a whimper.


Leading figures in pharmacy were joined by pharmacists and patients who delivered the ‘Support Your Local Pharmacy’ petition which attracted 1.8 million signatures. Among the campaigning group was Sir Kevin Barron, chair of the All-Party Pharmacy Group, and the Labour MP Michael Dugher who has been a vociferous critic of the government’s pharmacy efficiency plans.


Leading figures in pharmacy are optimistic the petition, which one pharmacy official described as the biggest petition ever launched, will at least compel the government into rethinking their proposals even if it fails to stop the £170 million cuts and force a u-turn on plans to introduce hub and spoke dispensing and click and collect online purchasing of medicines.


Talk of pharmacy bodies launching legal action against the government over its plans, and in particular the validity of its consultation on the plans, has died down in recent weeks in the wake of revelations that eight clients belonging to Charles Russell Speechlys had started exploring their legal options.


Barron told Pharmacy Business the APPG would not involve itself in any legal action if the petition fails to have the desired effect.


“We’re not party to that. Quite clearly negotiations are taking place with the statutory bodies and we’ll see the outcome of that really,” he said.


When asked what message he had for pharmacy bodies, chains and independents who may be considering the legal option, Barron said: “At this stage it’s quite clear that the money they’re planning to take out of the pharmacy budget is not good. I am fearful that there may be closures and those closures might be very hurtful for people.


“I think we have to recognise that pharmacists get the bulk of their income from the public purse. They are not public sector workers as such. If there is going to be these changes that some people are predicting, I would hope they are going to look after the interests of those pharmacists who might not make the cut.


“We want to see an expansion of the different things pharmacists can do, minor ailments, healthy living pharmacy, helping people keep fit so they don’t need the National Health Service.”


When asked if he thought the government was still largely ignorant of what pharmacy does to improve patient health or if ministers simply did not care, he said: “They’re taking £22 billion out of the National Health Service in efficiency savings and then they’re going to put £10 billion back. That says it all doesn’t it?”


Rob Darracott, the chief executive of Pharmacy Voice who was also at the petition event, said his organisation had not considered whether it would support any legal action.


“We haven’t because people have been concentrating on the campaign, 1.8 million signatures, the general public showing their support for local pharmacy. Let’s see what happens,” he said.


When asked if there was a plan B in the event the petition is unsuccessful, Darracott said: “Is there a plan B? What I will say there is if this challenge came out of the spending review, which it did, then we’ve got to not just think about this year, we’ve got to think about next year and the year after.


“The concern among people who have thought about this a lot has always been how do we get to a point where we can have a sensible conversation about how community pharmacy can help the NHS rather than these ideas that have been thrown together about how we might be more efficient?


“Why don’t we have a proper conversation about how we can deliver efficiency and deal with other challenges in the NHS around medicines use and improving the public’s health?


“Surely that would be a better place to start (rather) than an arbitrary cut launched without any kind of process and a consultation which we’ve all had to respond to.”


When asked if he thought Dr Keith Ridge, the chief pharmaceutical officer and key driver behind the hub and spoke dispensing model, was doing the pharmacy profession a disservice, Darracott said: “I think he’s challenging the profession. I know that’s not necessarily a popular view. But I think he’s challenging us to think differently.


Pharmacy cuts petition delivered to 10 Downing Street

25 May 2016, P3 Pharmacy      


Yesterday saw the petition against Government plans to cut pharmacy services – with an incredible 1.8m signatures, the biggest ever healthcare petition – presented to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, as MPs debated the matter in parliament and the Department of Health consultation on community pharmacy came to a close.


Ian Strachan, NPA chairman, 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 and a half patients and concerned citizens. Any changes to the NHS should have the improvement of patient care as the top priority, not simply saving money.”


Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, added: “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. 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.”


Dora Shergold, a patient and carer from Wellingborough, said: “I really can’t see how this assault on local pharmacies will help anybody. My pharmacy is a lifeline to me as a carer and a patient, and many others. It is very much in the heart of our community.”



25 May 2016, Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis


One in four people who normally go to a community pharmacy for health advice before any other healthcare professional would make an appointment with their GP if their pharmacy was faced with closure as a result of the government’s punishing funding cuts.


The concerning but not unsurprising assessment was made after research conducted by YouGov and published by Pharmacy Voice which highlighted how important pharmacy is in alleviating the pressure on general practice.


Research also suggests four in five people in areas of high deprivation would go to their GP first for advice if their pharmacy was threatened with closure.


The report’s findings will resonate strongly with areas such as Fleetwood in Lancashire and Easington Lane, a former coal mining village which does not have a GP surgery and relies on one local pharmacy to cater for over 2,000 people.


“At a time when there is an entirely unacceptable widening gap in life expectancy between rich and poor, extreme pressure on GPs and increasing public awareness of the role pharmacy is playing in delivering services to support public health, it would be catastrophic if the areas that most need it are deprived of access to this crucial community asset,” said Dr Mark Spencer, a GP in Fleetwood Lancashire and co-chair of NHS Alliance.


“Easington Lane and Fleetwood are two cases in point.”


The study was commissioned by Dispensing Health Equality.

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