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Teva alerts health secretary to energy prices impact on pharmacies

The UK general manager of pharmaceutical company Teva has written to the health secretary to make him aware of the pressure rising energy costs will put on pharmacies this winter.

Kim Innes sent a letter to Steve Barclay on October 20, seeking assurances that the distribution of medicines to patients will be safeguarded over what is likely to be a difficult winter, the company has said.

Steep energy prices, power-rationing and high costs are putting pharmacies under pressure.

While the government "knows that medicines manufacture is strategically important and that it’s a vital component in maintaining patient health", Teva wanted to ensure it is equally aware of the consequences of the energy crisis on pharmacy, Ms Innes wrote.

Pharmacies need to have "a fridge switched on at all times for storing cold chain products", she added.

"Wholesalers need climate control and lighting 24 hours a day and they can’t decide to simply use less power to reduce bills," she continued.

But the same is true for pharmacies. "Medicines must be stored within temperature limits, and pharmacies who are already challenged from so many different directions can’t choose to use less energy, and they certainly can’t tolerate simply having electricity cuts, as some of the National Grid’s emergency planning has implied in a worst-case situation," Ms Innes wrote.

In September, C+D reported that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed that community pharmacies in England, Scotland and Wales would see their energy prices capped at “less than half the wholesale prices anticipated this winter”.

But National Pharmacy Association chair Andrew Lane said that the package "barely touches the sides of the overall cost crisis for pharmacies".

Read more: Cost-of-living crisis: How are pharmacies supporting their staff?

Teva wrote in a statement yesterday (November 10) that it had not received a reply from Mr Barclay’s office.

C+D has approached the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.

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