Layer 1

PSNC in 'urgent' talks with DH over 'catastrophic' generics shortages

14 Dr Reddy's products are currently not being dispatched to the UK
14 Dr Reddy's products are currently not being dispatched to the UK

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) is in "urgent discussions" with the Department of Health (DH) about the "catastrophic" effect of generics shortages.

PSNC is seeking “immediate action” from the DH following inspections by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which found last month that a Bristol Laboratories manufacturing site in Luton, and a Dr Reddy’s site in India, did not “comply with good manufacturing practice”.

The supply shortage and pricing of a “large number of products” is having a “catastrophic impact on [contractors’] cashflow”, the negotiator said in a statement this afternoon (September 22).

PSNC is “aware of the very great difficulties” and “numerous market issues that pharmacy contractors and teams are facing”, it said, and alerted the DH as soon as the extent of the issues became clear.

PSNC member and independent pharmacy contractor Mark Burdon said the negotiator is “deeply frustrated and alarmed by the current medicines supply situation”.

“This is having a serious impact on all of our abilities to deliver medicines to patients,” he stressed. “We need action to ensure the resilience of the supply chain.”

PSNC has urged contractors to continue to report generic issues to help build “intelligence” to take to the DH.

Dr Reddy’s response

In a letter sent to Dr Reddy’s customers last month, the manufacturer explained that following the inspection of its site in Telangana, India, it would “not be able to dispatch any further products to the UK” until addressing the regulator’s concerns.

"We greatly value our relationship [with customers] and are committed to providing [them] with effective, high quality and safe medicines," the manufacturer added.

“Please be assured that it is our highest priority to address the concerns raised. To mitigate the disruption in supply, we are actively implementing steps to transfer the manufacture [of] certain products to an alternate, approved site.”

It included a full list of products affected (see below).

A spokesperson for Dr Reddy’s told C+D today: “We are in discussions with the DH to find a solution."

Bristol Laboratories was unavailable for comment at time of going to press.

Dr Reddy's products not available for dispatch to the UK
  • Amlodipine maleate 5/10mg
  • Bisacodyl 5mg
  • Cetirizine 10mg
  • Chlorpromazine 25/50/100mg
  • Ciprofloxacin 100/250/500/750mg
  • Dipyridamole 25/100mg
  • Dipyridamole retard 200mg MR (Attia)
  • Dipyridamole and aspirin 200/25mg (Molita)
  • Duloxetine 30/60mg
  • Fexofenadine 120/180mg
  • Lacidipine 2/4mg
  • Memantine 10/20mg
  • Terbinafine 250mg
  • Voriconazole 50/200mg

Source: Dr Reddy's letter to customers, August 16, 2017


Have you experienced problems sourcing generics?

janet maynard, Community pharmacist

I spend a lot of my day sourcing drugs- that has a big effect on how much my clinical skill is used!

Harish Shah, Senior Management

I blame the Chief Medical Officer UK, England, SOS for Health, MHRA, Pharmceutical Ass., CCG, CQC and above all I blame the Pharmacies, Chemists, and GP's for not standing up against the House of Commons. Shortages and scarce supply of medicines at present is in my opinion is due to BREXIT and Parallel Licencing. The whole system is corrupt. It's all about I scratch your back, you scartch mine. Medical Profession is now out of the window, one only needs tobe clever enough to play with figures and stastistics not the health of the patients.

Susan M Shepherd, Community pharmacist

As supply is a UK wide problem and done by the same companies, why are our colleagues north of the border paid more for the same drugs which are in short supply, and why are there more drugs on their adjusted prices list than the psnc list?

Chandra Nathwani, Community pharmacist

Perhaps a point to note here is that patients are suffering, having to go around different pharmacies to get their prescription filled.

With so many items in short supply and the rising number on the concession list, we are not re-assured can we be to even keep these items in stock and that the concession price will roll over for the next month. Where once we stocked at least 2-3 weeks of stock, now it is down to just 1 pack and only if we have a regular patient on the item. The increased workload for the GP's cannot even be measured.

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Sadly, I think this is a consequence of the continual downward pressure on generic prices. Manufacturers leave the market, resulting in only one or two sources for each product. They hit an obstacle that prevents them supplying and everyone suffers. DoH cannot ignore this!

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Stephen:- "the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which found last month that a Bristol Laboratories manufacturing site in Luton, and a Dr Reddy’s site in India, did not “comply with good manufacturing practice” - hence the above listed products failed to land on our wholesalers. Manufacturers didn't leave the market, there are good evidence suggesting manufacturers are buying and selling production facilities and PLs from each other in an attempt to create drug specific monopolies to drive the price up, e.g. hydrocortisone. The reduction of manufacturing facilities for generics got more to do with improving profits than anything else.

Another point, if the EMA can fine manufacturers for poor practices, let see how they will react! Please be reminded of the Teva/thyroxine incident which has nothing to do with pricing pressures, the manufacturer simply put less active ingredients into their tablets and falsely stating their potencies.

Ellen Penney, Superintendent Pharmacist

 Best one yet- glycopyrronium bromide is out of stock. So I ordered glycopyrolate from AHDL (cheaper than generic might I add!) invoice came this morning - no right to buy. When I queried it with customer services after 20 minutes on hold I was told it's hospital only - the MHRA told us to; open a hospital account.

Don't you worry AHDL - I'll just tell my terminal patient to drown in her own secretions. 

I did not become a pharmacist to deal with this. 

Andy Burrells, Community pharmacist

Who ever put a down thumb on this comment needs to cancel their registration!

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Are there any pharmacists out there still doing deals with Dr Reddy's and asking for extra discounts? The one-month share price chart (Dr Reddys Lab) is still on the way up!

Ash Awesti, Locum pharmacist

Total joke!! It's hard enough trying to fit everything into a days work, let alone trying to source stock and then trying to get hold of an alternative from an already busy GP!! Facing irate patients in the pharmacy is another story!!

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Buy, buy, buy!

Job of the week

Pharmacist Manager
Midlands, Cheshire & Dorset
Salary dependent upon experience