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Supply issues

Community pharmacy bodies 'continue to monitor' medicines supply plans as Brexit nears

A joint statement from five community pharmacy bodies says they have been “working closely” with the government “to ensure the continued supply of medicines” after Brexit.

Some five community pharmacy bodies have published a joint statement to reassure the profession that they “will continue to monitor the situation” around medicines supply as Brexit draws nearer.

In a statement, the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, the Company Chemists’ Association, the National Pharmacy Association, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said they have been “working closely” with the government “to ensure the continued supply of medicines” after Brexit.

The statement reiterates government guidance advising pharmacists, prescribers and the public “not to stockpile medicines”, while manufacturers have been requested to maintain a six-week stockpile in the UK.

“Towards the end of 2018 we worked with [the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)] when they consulted about changes to legislation to enable pharmacists to support the wider NHS in the event of serious shortages of medicines,” the letter said. “We are continuing to help the DHSC develop specific protocols for community pharmacists to ensure that patients continue to receive the best possible care.”

The government passed legislation on 9 February 2019 that would allow the government to issue “serious shortage protocols”, enabling pharmacists to switch a patient’s medication without contacting the prescriber if the prescribed drug was unavailable.

The letter added: “In the weeks leading up to the end of March [2019], and beyond, we will continue to monitor the situation and do all we can to help community pharmacy teams provide their patients with the support and care that they need.”

On 26 February 2019, the government revealed that companies supplying 7,000 prescription-only and pharmacy medicines are being asked to maintain a six-week buffer stock in the UK in case of a no-deal Brexit.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206262

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