On Monday 25 June, Matthew Arnold & Baldwin LLP (MAB) in association with The Watford Chamber of Commerce, Sigma Pharmaceuticals and Independent Pharmacy Federation (IPF) hosted a lunch-time seminar entitled “Medicine Supply Shortage: Parliament’s Answer to the Crisis” with a keynote speech delivered by the Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP.
Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP, the Chairman of the Parliamentary All Party Pharmacy Group, discussed the results of a recent enquiry into the worrying and growing trend in the pharmaceutical sector of supplies getting stuck in a bottleneck as products intended for supply in the UK are exported due to better profits on offer abroad. The delay in supplies means that pharmacists – and more importantly patients – do not always receive the medication when they need it.
Commenting, Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP said:
“In the UK, there has been a shortage of drugs over the past four years which has had an acute and damaging effect on the relationships between various members of the pharmaceutical supply chain and most importantly patients. The supply of medicines is not like another commodity – when consumers need it, it can make the difference to their quality of life and in some cases life and death as to whether and when they obtain it. The government needs to up its game and tackle this problem – this shortage is unacceptable but not unavoidable.”
He went on to say that this is a very complex problem with several aggravated causes and at the moment there is strong evidence to suggest the medical shortages are continuing rather than declining. He called on the government to consider whether it could legally restrict the export of medicines on the grounds of protecting public health, highlighting that this is under discussion in France.
Over 50 companies and high profile organisations within the pharma sector in Watford and its surrounding areas attended the event, including large firms such as Novo Nordisk and the British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers. The audience totalled about 100 people.
Paul Gershlick, Head of Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences at MAB, said:
“We were delighted that someone of Kevin Barron’s stature was able to come and speak about such a topical issue in the sector, and also that so many pharma businesses were in attendance. Kevin provided a great insight into the findings of the All Party Pharmacy Group Report and gave participants the opportunity to discuss their issues and theories in an open forum allowing a fascinating and eye-opening debate to take place. This is clearly a crisis that needs addressing now and this seminar gave the industry’s voices the chance to express their opinions and solutions directly to Kevin himself.”
Bharat Shah, Managing Director of Sigma, said:
“This was a fantastic opportunity to get a number of differing perspectives in the same place at the same time. Pharmacy businesses, in particular independents, are losing money in sourcing medicines and losing business when medicines are not readily available in the UK. This area is of major concern to any business working within the pharmaceutical sector. Sigma were delighted to be involved with this seminar and felt that it was an excellent time to explain our position in this crisis as an established licensed wholesaler and distributor.”
Claire Ward, Chief Executive of the IPF, said:
“Pharmacists are spending a large amount of time trying to source medicines. It can be a significant expense for them and it is time they could be spending providing other services to patients. It was absolutely the right time for my members to have the opportunity to discuss this with Kevin Barron.”
The event has also been reported by Pharmacy Business here: http://www.pharmacy.biz/latest-news/Government+clawbacks+have+caused+medicines+shortage,+says+Sigma+chief/1491