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Wes Streeting: Pharmacies to host clinical trials under Labour plans

The shadow health secretary plans to make enlistment into clinical trials at community pharmacies “easier”, he has announced at the Sigma conference.

A Labour government would “make it easier” for clinical trials to recruit candidates and run in community pharmacies, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said today (February 28).


In a recorded video for the Sigma conference, Mr Streeting told delegates that Labour’s “ambition” for community pharmacy will see the sector “playing a big part in developing new medicines and treatments for the future”.


Read more: Sector welcomes Labour’s promise of ‘greater role’ for pharmacy


He said that a Labour government would put pharmacies “at the forefront of rapid innovation” in the life sciences sector.


Mr Streeting told delegates that the NHS “must reform or it will die”, adding that a Labour government’s “reform agenda” would see a greater role for community pharmacists, encouraging the profession to “work at the top of their license”.



“Undervalued for too long”



Community pharmacy is “absolutely crucial” to creating “a healthier Britain”, the shadow health secretary said.


He pointed to pharmacy closures and staff and service cuts as proof that the sector has been “undervalued for too long”.


Read more: Wes Streeting ‘really alarmed’ by Lloydspharmacy closure reports


Mr Streeting also highlighted community pharmacy’s “untapped potential” in areas like prescribing and medicines management.


The shadow health secretary said that pharmacists should help with the management of “long-term conditions like hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)”. 


And he added that a Labour government would see pharmacists work more on overprescribing, which he said was responsible for “thousands of avoidable hospital admissions each year”.


Read more: HSCC: ‘Nonsensical’ that pharmacists lack generic substitution powers


In November, C+D noted a report from consultancy firm EY, which predicted a future in which “pharmacists…work closely with partners in pharmaceutical companies, gathering data and referring patients for clinical trials”.


In October, Mr Streeting said at the Labour Party conference that he wanted to see a “greater role for community pharmacy” that would be “great for patients, great for our high streets and great for poor old GPs” who “can’t meet the demand”.


On Monday, health and social care committee (HSCC) chair and Conservative MP Steve Brine voiced his support for greater use of pharmacists’ skills, saying that it is “nonsensical” that they cannot perform generic substitutions when faced with medicines shortages.

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