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Measures to tackle medicine supply


A summit has been held for the pharmaceuticals industry, which has recently seen a series of new measures agreed to help tackle the problem of medicine supply to NHS patients.

Health secretary Andy Burnham and health minister Mike O’Brien hosted the summit, which provided a forum for the current difficulties to be discussed.

The new actions agreed by the delegates have been designed to ensure that NHS patients can get the medicines they need.

They include the introduction of targeted inspections by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and tougher standards enforced for the issue of licences for medical wholesalers.

There will also be a more explicit duty for wholesalers and manufacturers to make sure NHS patients have access to sufficient supplies of medicines.

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Best practice guidance on how doctors, pharmacists, manufacturers and wholesalers should cope with supply difficulties will also be created.

Manufacturers and wholesalers could lose their licences and face prosecution if the inspections find they have not fulfilled their legal duties on stocks of medicines. If pharmacists and doctors breach their ethical obligation to put the needs of patients first they could face action by their professional bodies.

Richard Barker, Director General, Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry, said: “Getting vital medicines to NHS patients is the job of all of us in the medicines supply chain and so we welcome the collaborative approach being taken by the forum.

“We also strongly support the proposal to raise the standards to be applied to the licensing of wholesalers, to reinforce their mission to deliver medicines to meet the needs of UK patients, who should be at the centre of all of our activities.”

Copyright Press Association 2010
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

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