Funding pharmacists to have “longer and more detailed conversations with millions of patients” about their medicines could help “deliver a reduction in the demand for medicines”, the PDA claimed in a letter sent to Sajid Javid yesterday (August 28).
The new approach would differ from existing Brexit plans, which the PDA believes have so far been “largely logistical”.
“The more professionally-led proposals that we are now making could complement [Brexit plans] by safely delivering a reduction in the demand for medicines,” PDA chairman Mark Koziol said.
The PDA told C+D that it was prompted to write the letter following pharmacists’ concerns that a no-deal Brexit will increase medicine shortages.
Under the PDA’s proposals, pharmacists working in hospitals, GP practices, care homes and “especially in community pharmacies” would be given more time to spend with patients to help them understand “what their medicines really do for them, both the good and the bad”, Mr Koziol explained in the letter.
“It is highly likely that [patients] will be happy, where appropriate, to reduce in a planned way the levels of medication that they are taking.
“Furthermore, such a conversation is likely to lead to an increase in the number of patients who will take a keener interest in their condition and their treatment. This will have a profoundly beneficial effect upon their health, the NHS and ultimately the taxpayer.”
"Make better use of pharmacy"
PDA national officer Paul Day told C+D this morning that the letter was sent to encourage the government to fund the service – the finer details of which are yet to be decided – “for the benefit of the patients, to make better use of pharmacy and to improve the UK’s ability to respond to potential medicine shortages”.
How much should be spent on this service “is up for discussion”, Mr Day said.
The PDA declined to share the letter with C+D at this time, explaining it would like to give the government an opportunity to respond first.
Responding to C+D, a Department of Health and Social Care (DH) spokesperson said: “We are committed to making sure patients get the safest and most appropriate treatments and we have launched a review into overprescribing in the NHS.
“We want to reassure patients that our plans should ensure the supply of medicines and medical products remains uninterrupted when we leave the EU on October 31.”
As C+D reported last week, manufacturers and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society warned that the government’s contingency plans for Brexit “can only go so far to eliminate” the risk of medicine shortages.
Two weeks ago, the DH announced its latest effort to prevent supply chain disruption, a £25 million contract for an express freight service to deliver urgent medicines to the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit.