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Negotiator meets with MPs to drive home medicines supply concerns


Negotiator meets with MPs to drive home medicines supply concerns

Community Pharmacy England met with MPs earlier today (July 10) to discuss the "critical issue" of medicines supply.

At the drop-in briefing in the houses of parliament, cpe presented data on the impact medicine supply issues are having on community pharmacies and patients, with procurement problems and delayed supply increasingly common.

The negotiator called for measures including reform of the serious shortage protocol legislation, allowing generic substitution by pharmacies, an "overhaul" of the price concessions system and a strategic government review on medicine supply and pricing "with a shift to focusing on how to improve the functioning of the supply chain rather than solely on the drive to depress prices and margins," it said.

Anil Sharma, an independent contractor and CPE representative for the East of England region, said: "Like all pharmacy businesses owners i am struggling to juggle medicines supply and pricing on a daily basis.

"As well as issues with obtaining some medicines, pricing is a constant worry, wondering whether we are going to be able to pay our wholesalers bills at the end of the month  and thats all on top of managing the inevitable and understandable patient frustration and concern.

"Government and the NHS need to take action to resolve this: it's totally unacceptable that pharmacies are being asked to risk footing the bill for NHS medicines month after month, particularly when supply issues are not our fault and are completely out of our control. We have made this point loudly and clearly at todays event and will continue to press for action."

CPE chief Janet Morrison said: "The instability in the medicines market is fast becoming the most critical issue facing community pharmacy owners and we hosted this event in parliament to help mps to understand this.

"Pharmacy teams are going above and beyond on a daily basis to mitigate these issues for their patients, and we are clear that pharmacy owners cannot continue to manage this issue on behalf of government and to take huge financial risks as they do so.

"We have set out a number of possible solutions to the issues but perhaps most fundamental is the need for a strategic review of medicines supply.

"Despite the billions of pounds in savings that pharmacy procurement brings, the margin that pharmacies are allowed to earn on medicines purchases has been capped at the same level for many years: this is yet another pressures at a time when pharmacy businesses are fighting for survival. We want to see a more balanced benefit-sharing approach and to a shift in focus away from the drive to depress prices and margins."

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