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DH and PSNC discuss pharmacies sourcing alternatives if no-deal Brexit

The CCA, NPA and AIMp also met with the DH to discuss the supply of medicines

PSNC is in talks with the DH about granting pharmacies the power to “exercise discretion” about whether to dispense equivalent medicines in the event of no-deal Brexit shortages.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has been holding an “ongoing dialogue” with the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) since the summer about “secondary measures” which may be required to maintain the supply of medicines, “particularly in the event of no deal”, it said in a statement yesterday (November 28).

One of these measures would be “giving pharmacies the ability to exercise appropriate professional discretion to ensure the continuity of an alternative equivalent medicine to patients in accordance with patient need”, PSNC said.

The negotiator has also been telling the DH about pharmacies’ need to access “quick and clear reimbursement and stock availability information”, it said.

Contractors need “more responsive drug tariff pricing and reimbursement of any additional costs incurred”, PSNC stressed, as well as “appropriate regulatory and practical support to ensure the continuity of medicines supplies to patients”.

Dukes: A deal is essential

PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes said: “From a medicine supply perspective, an agreed deal is essential if we are to reduce the negative impact of a chaotic exit from the European Union.

“PSNC will continue to work with officials at the DH to help minimise disruption from a no-deal Brexit.

“Quite rightly a lot of community pharmacists and local pharmaceutical committees are concerned about Brexit and the impact it will have on patients, communities and of course businesses,” Mr Dukes added. “I share your concerns.”

PSNC will host a Brexit Forum meeting for community pharmacy stakeholders to discuss the latest developments with the DH tomorrow (November 30).

Multiples discussed medicines supply with DH

The Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), which represents the UK’s largest multiples, has also met with the DH to discuss “plans for ensuring the continuity of supply of medicines to patients as the UK leaves the EU”, alongside the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies and the National Pharmacy Association, it said today.

“The meeting focused on strengthening the lines of communication between government and the pharmacy front line and opportunities to introduce flexibilities into working practices,” the CCA said.

“Given the potential for disruption, we are very pleased to be working with the DH,” it said, which it will continue to do before and after Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29.

The House of Commons is scheduled to vote on December 11 on the terms of Theresa May’s deal for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Last month, the Healthcare Distribution Association’s executive director Martin Sawer told MPs that pharmacists need emergency powers to substitute drugs on prescriptions in the event of a no-deal Brexit, in order to prevent shortages.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society president Ash Soni said at the time it would be “sensible” to allow pharmacists to switch medicines on prescriptions in the event of Brexit shortages.

3 Comments
Question: 
Do you think pharmacists should be granted powers to switch between equivalent medicines?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Just a reminder, Brexit is due in just under 24 weeks. I hope they get things sorted before then because there's really not a lot of time left!

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

There is a silver lining... All those "I must have the branded ones or I get ill " will probably get to test the theory!

Phil Goddard, Community pharmacist

Why cant we do it now? There is no shortage of shortages.

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