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24 November, 2003
Entry control needs new Act, says Numark
The Government could face a legal challenge to the way it intends to bring about changes to the pharmacy control of entry regulations.
Numark has sought legal advice and claims that the Government would be exceeding its authority by introducing competition as an entry test through secondary legislation in the form of a statutory instrument.
It says such action would mean the Government was acting ultra vires as secondary legislation should only amend an act of parliament in the general spirit of the act. To reverse the intention of one act would normally require another act of parliament, and not simply an order which can be passed without debate.
1 November, 2003
While supporting the delegation of the accuracy check to qualified technicians, the BPA says it is essential for a pharmacist to maintain the pharmaceutical assessment.
A possibility would be to compile a list of items that could be supplied by suitably qualified technicians without the pharmacist’s personal supervision. This could include repeat items previously assessed by the pharmacist, at the same premises and clinically unchanged. But there would need to be robust protocols in place.
In its response to the Department of Health’s Vision for Pharmacy, the LPC points out that – with increased prescribing – pharmacists are working without parallel increases in resources.
"Pharmacists are working longer hours, taking shorter holidays and cutting investment in their businesses. Morale among pharmacists is dangerously low and without urgent action the NHS faces the potential for large-scale and unplanned closures of pharmacies."
Generic payments -
The British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers was responding to the Department of Health’s proposals on the supply and reimbursement of generic medicines. BAPW condemned the DoH’s proposals, saying that they failed to address the need for pharmacists and wholesalers "to make profit in some sectors to cover substantial loss-making activity in others".
Steve Dunn, the BAPW’s chairman, said that the DoH’s proposals may mean that supply of generic medicines to patients will be severely disrupted as pharmacists and wholesalers reduce their holding of generic stock prior to a possible price cut in April 2004.
18 October, 2003
"There are currently significant differences between the reimbursement price and the price at which pharmacists purchase these four medicines from suppliers," the DoH said last Friday.
"The generic versions of these four medicines entered the market since the last discount inquiry [in 2000] and are not included in the current calculation, at a significant cost to the NHS.
"Reducing the reimbursement price of these four medicines [to community pharmacists and dispensing doctors] will make sure that the NHS is getting value for money until new arrangements for the supply of generic medicines are agreed [in April 2004]," the DoH added.
If the proposed price reductions are implemented, the DoH said it would "keep these prices under review and may consult on further changes if needed". However, there are no plans to extend the reimbursement cuts to any other drugs, a DoH spokesman confirmed.
Over the counter drugs not valued by public
There is a public perception that OTC medicines are not really drugs and that if a medicine is available on prescription it is much more powerful, the chairman of the Doctor Patient Partnership has claimed.
"If we want people to manage minor, self-limiting illness we need to get them to understand how powerful OTC medicines are," said Simon Fradd at last week’s PAGB conference entitled ‘Making self-care a reality in primary care.’
He thought it "ridiculous" that the volume of medicines bought OTC remained constant, despite POM to P switches, while the volume of prescriptions dispensed kept on increasing.
Council sets criteria for entry to techs register
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Council has agreed the criteria for entry to the pharmacy technicians’ register. This will be opened on January 1, 2005, subject to legislation.
Only pharmacy technicians with an S/NVQ level 3 in pharmacy services will be eligible to join the register from 2007, Council agreed at its October meeting. From this date, anyone wishing to use the protected title ‘pharmacy technician’ will be legally required to register with the RPSGB.
Council also agreed criteria for ‘grandparenting arrangements’, allowing pharmacy technicians who do not have an S/NVQ level 3 in pharmacy services to join the register. These will only be used during a two-year transitional period from January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2006
Pharmacy technicians who wish to register with the RPSGB but do not have an S/NVQ level 3 in pharmacy services will need to register under transitional arrangements. They will need to provide evidence that they have one of the following qualifications:
Society is against extending PGD rights
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has objected to a Government proposal to allow allied health professionals (AHPs) to supply POMs under patient group directions. It fears that some practitioners may not be competent.
The MHRA had proposed to allow dieticians, occupational therapists, prosthetists and speech and language therapists to supply POMs under PGDs but, according to RPSGB professional conduct head Steve Lutener, a PGD supply route is suitable only where the supplier is "fully competent, qualified and trained".
AAH buys Norwich wholesaler
AAH Pharmaceuticals has bought Norwich-based wholesaler East Anglian Pharmaceuticals for an undisclosed sum. EAP will become a subsidiary of AAH but it will continue to trade under its existing name
22 September, 2003
Health minister Rosie Winterton told the British Pharmaceutical Conference in Harrogate on Wednesday that these training costs would be met in the proposed new contract, but the £1m would be an initial contribution.
She said that training and defining competence and appropriate qualifications would be fundamental to the Government’s proposals to enable some pharmacy technicians to supply medicines without a pharmacist’s direct supervision.
But she assured her audience that a pharmacist would still always be legally and professionally accountable for the activities in each pharmacy. Proposals will be launched early next year for consultation.
The new rules, The Medicines (Child Safety) Regulations 2003, specify that medicinal products of this type will have to be packaged in British Standard-compliant, child-resistant packaging, unless the patient specifically requests otherwise, or if the product is supplied on prescription and it is not possible to dispense the product in the correct packaging.
The new regulations, SI2003: 2317, were put before Parliament on September 10.
RPSGB inspectors’ powers clarified
New Home Office regulations underlining the right of Royal Pharmaceutical Society inspectors to carry out direct surveillance but not run informants or agents have been laid before Parliament.
Stephen Lutener, the RPSGB’s head of professional conduct, said that the new order will have very little impact on the Society’s inspectors, who will still be able to carry out "low level" covert surveillance.