HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 29 March 2016

You can access the hub-and-spoke consultation here.

DH launch consultation on hub and spoke and prices on labels

25 March 2016, PSNC

 

The Department of Health and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency have launched a consultation on changes to the Human Medicines Regulations and the Medicines Act. The proposed changes include allowing independent pharmacies to make us of ‘hub and spoke’ dispensing models and changing the current labelling requirements.

 

Regulations to facilitate hub and spoke dispensing

24 March 2016, National Pharmacy Association

 

The Department of Health has launched a consultation on changes to regulations to facilitate hub and spoke dispensing. The proposed regulations will allow spokes to be in a different corporate entity to the hub. The deadline to the consultation is 17 May.

 

U.S. spends $3 billion a year on unused cancer drugs

25 March 2016, Reuters

 

U.S. doctors and hospitals throw out nearly $3 billion in unused cancer drugs yearly. The medicines come in single-use packages containing more of the drug than what a typical patient needs, and excess medicines must be discarded for safety reasons meaning up to 30% of sales are wasted. Supplying drugs in a variety of package sizes would reduce waste, and may help with the drug shortages.

 

EPS hits 1 million prescriptions a day milestone

25 March, P3 Pharmacy, Sam Healey

 

Use of EPS is increasing, with a total of 500 million electronic prescriptions having been processed through the system. A third of all prescriptions to pharmacies are now sent electronically.

 

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DH launch consultation on hub and spoke and prices on labels

25 March 2016, PSNC

 

The Department of Health and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency have launched a consultation on changes to the Human Medicines Regulations and the Medicines Act.

The consultation seeks views on the following proposed changes:

 

  • allowing independent pharmacies to make use of ‘hub and spoke’ dispensing models – a ‘hub’ pharmacy dispenses medicines on a large scale, often by making use of automation, preparing and assembling the medicines for regular ‘spoke’ pharmacies that supply the medicines to the patient;
  • allowing the price of medicines and a statement on how the costs of medicines are met to be published on dispensing labels should this be required for NHS medicines dispensed as part of NHS pharmaceutical services;
  • clarifying the current dispensing label requirements for monitored dosage systems and medicines supplied under patient group directions; and
  • amending the pharmacists’ exemption in section 10 of the Medicines Act, regarding the preparation and assembly of medicines, following a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

 

Further details are available on the Department of Health website.

 

Regulations to facilitate hub and spoke dispensing

24 March 2016, National Pharmacy Association

 

The Department of Health has launched a consultation on changes to regulations to facilitate hub and spoke dispensing. The deadline to the consultation is 17 May. The proposed regulations will allow spokes to be in a different corporate entity to the hub.

The NPA has recently undertaken an investigation into the hub and spoke model which highlighted a number of significant legal, practice and economic concerns. These were reported in a webinar, which is available to view online. Further information on this consultation will be sent to members in the next few weeks.

 

U.S. spends $3 billion a year on unused cancer drugs

25 March 2016, Reuters

 

U.S. doctors and hospitals throw out almost $3 billion (roughly 2.7 billion euros) in unused cancer drugs each year because the medicines come in supersized single-use packages and excess medicine must be discarded for safety reasons, a recent paper suggests.

 

Researchers focused on 20 expensive medicines that are given by injection or intravenous drip and require doses adjusted based on the patient’s body size. Often, the packages contain much more medicine than patients need, and the leftovers wind up in the trash.

 

Even when much of the medicine goes in the garbage, patients pay for the whole vial, said lead author Dr. Peter Bach, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

 

“The waste is driving up the cost of their care and it is money that they are spending that provides them no benefit,” Bach said by email. “It also drives up the cost for their insurance, which leads to higher premiums, which costs them more money too.”

 

Patients and insurers pay drug manufacturers about $1.8 billion a year for medicines that are thrown away, Bach and colleagues report in The BMJ.

 

They also pay an additional $1 billion to doctors and hospitals on wasted medications, according to the analysis.

 

Waste isn’t inevitable, the researchers conclude.

 

Take bendamustine, a drug for leukemia, that is sold in a broad array of package sizes. Doctors can combine different sized vials to get so close to the precise amount needed by the patient that only about 1 percent of the drug is wasted, the analysis finds.

 

But with another drug, bortezomib for multiple myeloma, the only available package size is far larger than what a typical patient needs and up to 30 percent of sales are due to wasted medicine, the analysis finds.

 

The drugs in the study treat a wide variety of tumors including breast, colon, prostate and pancreatic malignancies. They are all what’s known as biologic medicines, which are engineered from living cells, and they are generally far more expensive than pills.

 

Biologic medicines often lack preservatives and have a higher risk of contamination than other drugs, and leftovers from single-use vials are thrown out because using them could give patients infections, said Stacie Dusetzina, a pharmacy researcher at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill who wasn’t involved in the study.

 

“One of the clearest solutions to this waste is to have more dosing options available,” Dusetzina said by email. That would require drug makers to sell the medicines in a variety of package sizes.

 

More packaging options might also help with drug shortages, Dr. Yoram Unguru, an oncology researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

 

While drug packages might in theory be used for more than one patient, in reality this would require scheduling people who need the same medicine to come in to receive chemotherapy at the same time, said Dwight Kloth, director of pharmacy at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

 

“This is very difficult to do, and anything but convenient for patients,” Kloth, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

 

Beyond scheduling, concerns about safe handling and storage of opened vials to avoid contamination generally stop this type of sharing from happening, said Dr. Nancy Keating of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

 

“Given concerns about causing harm, most healthcare entities (if not all) consider that use of single-use vials should be for a single patient,” Keating, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Thus, any leftover drug gets discarded.”

 

EPS hits 1 million prescriptions a day milestone

25 March, P3 Pharmacy, Sam Healey

 

For the first time ever EPS has processed one million prescriptions in a single day, in total 500 million electronic prescriptions have now been issued through the system and a third of all prescriptions are now sent to pharmacies this way.

 

The Summary Care Record has also achieved a major milestone, having been accessed five million times by doctors, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. The SCR launched late last year and enables instant access to vital clinical information about a patient when they are being cared for in an emergency or when their GP practice is closed.

A SCR is now viewed every 9 seconds and 55 million people are benefiting from the improved information that healthcare professionals have to support their treatment and care, reports The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

“When you consider that around one billion prescriptions are generated every year in England, it is a significant achievement to be able to say that over a third of all prescriptions are now processed electronically,” said programme head for EPS, Rachel Habergham.

“The volumes continue to increase on a daily basis as we support more GPs to go live. We are fast approaching a day when it will be very rare for a prescription not to be processed by EPS.”

From Factory to Pharmacy

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