Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login


Drug wholesalers vent concerns about government’s hub and spoke plans

A trade body representing drug wholesalers who distribute more than 92% of NHS medicines has warned that the full implications of hub and spoke technology have yet to be determined and its widescale implementation risks reducing the quality and safety of dispensing.

Responding to the UK government’s Human Medicines Regulations 2012 consultation, the Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK) – the former British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers, which was rebranded in February 2016 – has agreed that independent pharmacies should be allowed the same access to hub and spoke technology as vertically integrated pharmacy chains.

Currently, section 10 of the Medicines Act 1968 only allows hub and spoke dispensing if the ‘hub’ and the ‘spoke’ pharmacy are both part of the same retail pharmacy business.

However, HDA UK warns that removing this legislative impediment could open drug distribution to new providers which may not be required to match the same standards mandated by the UK regulator, the Medicines and healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

It urges that the MHRA should be made responsible for inspecting hubs and ‘hub to spoke’ transportation to ensure they comply with European Union regulations for good distribution practice and that pharmacy regulations should be reviewed to take into account new requirements for storage and transportation prompted by hub and spoke systems.

HDA UK emphasises the need to discern between hub and spoke and centralised dispensing. It is crucial to maintain the patient-pharmacist relationship, it says, adding it does not support centralised dispensing, which sees prescriptions sent directly to patients. “It is a model that has been shown to be challenging and a substantial risk to patients receiving their medicines safely and in a timely manner.”

It admits that hub and spoke technology has the potential to free up spoke pharmacists’ time to deliver further patient-centric services, but says estimates that 45% of medicines will be dispensed through hub and spoke were on the “high side”.

HDA UK has also asked the UK government to look into additional issues raised by hub and spoke, including the impact on the implementation of the EU Falsified Medicines Directive, the need for contingency planning as a result of stock being centralised in large hubs, and any potential issues arising from any existing supply arrangements between drug manufacturers and wholesalers.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20201188

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Drugs of Abuse

    Drugs of Abuse

    A concise, easy-to-read guide for healthcare professionals who encounter drug abuse.

    £38.00Buy now
  • Adverse Drug Reactions

    Adverse Drug Reactions

    A practical guide to the drug reactions that affect particular organ systems, and the management of these reactions.

    £38.00Buy now
  • English Delftware Drug Jars

    English Delftware Drug Jars

    This beautiful book illustrates the art and history of the collection of English delftware drug jars in the Museum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.

    £54.00Buy now
  • Paediatric Drug Handling

    Paediatric Drug Handling

    Written for new pharmaceutical scientists, this book provides a background in paediatric pharmacy and a comprehensive introduction to children's medication.

    £33.00Buy now
  • Introduction to Renal Therapeutics

    Introduction to Renal Therapeutics

    Introduction to Renal Therapeutics covers all aspects of drug use in renal failure. Shows the role of the pharmacist in patient care for chronic kidney disease.

    £38.00Buy now
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Medicines and healthcare Products Regulatory Agency offices in central London

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.