The Government’s Brexit medicines stockpiling plans lack consideration for community pharmacy’s ‘legitimate’ wholesaling role, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has said.
Speaking at the Pharmacy Show in Birmingham yesterday (7 October), NPA chief executive Mark Lyonette told delegates that the Government did not ‘seem to have a sense that stockpiling in community pharmacy is often legitimate wholesaling’.
In August, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) told contractors to ‘not take any steps to stockpile additional medicines’, as pharmaceutical companies were asked to hold an extra six-weeks of supply on the top of their usual buffer stocks in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
A DHSC spokesperson told The Pharmacist: ‘The Government is confident of reaching a deal with the EU that benefits patients and the NHS – but we are preparing for all situations and we are working closely with partners to ensure adequate stockpiles are in place for all medicines which may be affected in the event of a no deal Brexit.’
Lack of acknowledgment
Mr Lyonette said he was ‘surprised’ at how the Government had ‘spent a lot of time thinking’ about secondary care and how to control stockpiling but ‘did not seem to have a sense that stockpiling in community pharmacy is often legitimate wholesaling’.
He told The Pharmacist yesterday: ‘Stockpiling in primary care is very much about making sure you’ve got enough medicines for your hospital and so on.
‘What I don’t think they [the Government] gave sufficient acknowledgment to was that in community pharmacy, one person’s stockpiling is somebody else’s legitimate wholesaling. And if you are wholesaling then you are not just creating enough stock for your own needs in your pharmacy but you have enough stock to trade.
‘I think there was not enough recognition that that is a market place. The key thing here is making sure that patients have the medicines they need at the time they need in a convenient fashion.’
‘Long way to go’
Discussing Brexit with other pharmacy representative bodies including the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), Mr Lyonette said that ‘we have a long way to go’ in terms of the negotiations.
He told delegates: ‘In a no-deal scenario, I can’t think of anything worse for patients and the Government than having angry queues in pharmacies, people desperately trying to get hold of their medicines.
‘It puts into perspective not being able to get a GP appointment. If we can’t the medicines we need it’s a terrible [situation].