Brexit: Update for Community Pharmacies

Brexit: Update for Community Pharmacies

November 28, 2018

The UK’s exit from the European Union in March 2019 is continuing to dominate the national news, particularly as we approach the House of Commons vote on the EU withdrawal agreement on December 11th.

Alongside the other pharmacy organisations, PSNC is continuing to work to ensure that the supply of medicines to community pharmacies and the patients they treat will be maintained in all possible scenarios, including a no-deal Brexit.

Since the summer, PSNC has been working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to help manage the potential risks to medicines supply from the UK’s exit from the EU, particularly in the event of a no-deal.

As part of that ongoing dialogue, this week PSNC has been in discussion with DHSC officials about possible actions, in addition to the ongoing manufacturers’ stockpiling of six weeks’ supply of certain medicines, that may be required to help maintain the supply of medicines.

These so-called ‘secondary measures’ include suggestions such as:

  • 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;
  • Measures to ensure community pharmacies have quick and clear reimbursement and stock availability information;
  • More responsive Drug Tariff pricing and reimbursement for contractors of any additional costs incurred; and
  • Appropriate regulatory and practical support, to ensure the continuity of medicine supplies to patients.

PSNC is continuing to work with the other national pharmacy organisations and will on Friday (November 30th) host a meeting of the Community Pharmacy Brexit Forum, bringing together stakeholders to consider the latest developments and discuss them with the DHSC.

Organisations at the meeting will include AIM, the CCA, NPA, PDA and RPS from the pharmacy sector, as well as the Dispensing Doctors Association, Healthcare Distribution Association and Proprietary Association of Great Britain.

PSNC is also engaging with MPs about Brexit and has recently written to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Access to Medicines and Medical Devices about the need to maintain the supply of medicines after Brexit. We will meet with the Chair of the group, and with other MPs, in December.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes, writing in Community Pharmacy News this month, said:

“Quite rightly a lot of community pharmacists and LPCs are concerned about Brexit and the impact it will have on patients, communities and of course businesses. I share your concerns. 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 Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to help minimise disruption from a no-deal Brexit. As you would expect, PSNC is working collaboratively with other national pharmacy bodies (particularly the NPA, CCA, AIM, RPS and PDA) as well as organisations across the medicines supply chain to secure the best possible contingency plan for community pharmacies and their patients.”

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