National Pharmacy Association (NPA) - News updates

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COVID-19: NHS Test and Trace service launched (England) (updated 2 June 2020)

The NHS Test and Trace programme, launched in England on 28 May 2020, aims to ensure that any member of the public who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection – i.e. a new cough, fever, and/or anosmia – is tested quickly (by visiting  NHS.UK or call NHS 111 if they do not have internet access) and their close ‘contacts’ identified. A ‘contact’ is defined as a person who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) anytime from 2 days before the person was symptomatic, up to 7 days from onset of symptoms (this is when they are infectious to others), and who may or may not live with them. Examples of a ‘contact’: A person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) for more than 15 minutes Someone who has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), including: being coughed on, having a face-to-face conversation, within one metre, or having skin-to-skin physical contact, or contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact A person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) Someone who spends significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) Sexual partner(s) People who spend significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 Where an interaction between two people has taken place through a clear screen (e.g.…

Danazol capsules 100mg and 200mg – supply disruption/CAS alert

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England and Improvement(NHS E&I) have issued a Central Alerting System (CAS)/ Supply Disruption Alert stating that danazol capsules 100mg and 200mg have been discontinued in the UK and no more stock is available in the supply chain. Management for patients requiring ongoing treatment will depend on whether they have been prescribed danazol for licensed indications or for off-label uses Danazol capsules 100mg and 200mg are available to order as unlicensed products – there is limited stock availability from specials importers Key points for pharmacists and pharmacy teams Please read in detail the DHSC Supply Disruption Alert SDA/2020/009 Prescribers have been advised not to initiate treatment with danazol in new patients Patients prescribed danazol for licensed indications should be switched to an alternate licensed treatment – local and national guidelines should be followed and may require advice/referral to a specialist Links to national guidance for alternative treatment options for licensed indications for danazol is available in the alert Patients prescribed danazol for off-label indications should be switched to unlicensed danazol Prescribers have been advised to seek advice from secondary care specialists and/or refer patients where it has not been appropriate to switch treatment to the unlicensed danazol or patients have insufficient supplies of danazol to last until unlicensed danazol is available Prescribers have been informed to liaise with pharmacy teams to find out the availability and lead time of specific unlicensed danazol Unlicensed danazol capsules 100mg and 200mg cannot be prescribed on EPS prescriptions because these items are not listed on dm+d; prescribers must annotate FP10 paper prescriptions with “special order” and the prescriptions must be endorsed as a non-part VIIIB special – refer to the NPA endorsement guide Guidance on supplying unlicensed medicines has been issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency This information has also been issued separately in Northern Ireland as a Supply Disruption Alert HSS (MD) 40/2020 References MHRA CAS alert: https://www.cas.mhra.gov.uk/ViewandAcknowledgment/ViewAlert.aspx?AlertID=103048 PSNC: https://psnc.org.uk/dispensing-supply/supply-chain/medicine-shortages/…

Zyban® (bupropion hydrochloride) prolonged release tablets 150mg– supply disruption/CAS alert

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England and Improvement (NHS E&I) have issued a Central Alerting System (CAS) alert to issue a Supply Disruption Alert stating that Zyban® (bupropion hydrochloride) prolonged release tablets 150mg will be out of stock from week commencing 15 June 2020 until the end of November 2020. Alternative treatments available for the treatment of nicotine dependence include unlicensed bupropion prolonged release tablets 150mg, Champix® (varenicline tartrate) tablets and nicotine replacement therapies. Key points for pharmacists and pharmacy teams Please read in detail the DHSC Supply Disruption Alert SDA/2020/010 Unlicensed bupropion hydrochloride prolonged release tablets 150mg cannot be supplied under a Patient Group Direction (PGD); only the licensed product can be supplied via a PGD Prescribers have been advised not to initiate treatment with Zyban® prolonged release tablets 150mg in new patients until the supply disruption is resolved Zyban® prolonged release tablets 150mg can be prescribed for off-label uses, for example, in treatment resistant depression Patients prescribed Zyban® prolonged release tablets 150mg for treatment resistant depression should be referred to their secondary care specialists if it is not considered appropriate to switch them to unlicensed bupropion preparations When switching patients from Zyban® prolonged release tablets 150mg to alternate smoking cessation treatments, there is no dose equivalence Unlicensed bupropion hydrochloride prolonged release tablets 150mg cannot be prescribed on EPS prescriptions because this item is not listed on dm+d; prescribers must annotate FP10 paper prescriptions with “special order” and the prescriptions must be endorsed as a non-part VIIIB special – refer to the NPA endorsement guide Guidance on supplying unlicensed medicines has been issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency This information has also been issued separately in: Northern Ireland: HSS (MD)40/2020 Scotland: NHS Circular MSAN (2020)45 References MHRA CAS alert: https://www.cas.mhra.gov.uk/ViewAndAcknowledgment/viewAlert.aspx?AlertID=103049 PSNC: https://psnc.org.uk/dispensing-supply/supply-chain/medicine-shortages/…

New video tells story of pharmacy teams rising up to save lives

A video celebrating the dedication of pharmacy teams across the UK in the face of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across social media. Created by the National Pharmacy Association, the video is based on the hit song, Rise Up, and features pharmacists and pharmacy staff from across the country. Health Secretary Matt Hancock posted a message to accompany the video. In it, he says: “I know these have been difficult times. For the way you’ve risen to the challenge, and that you’re there for people, a great big thank you”. NPA board member, Raj Aggarwal, one of the pharmacists appearing in the film, said: “The video tells the story, in song form, of pharmacy teams rising to the challenge of coronavirus, keeping people well and saving lives – even whilst under the most intense pressure. The NPA wants to thank all those who took part in the filming of this powerful piece, which celebrates the spirit and determination of our people on the health service frontline.” The NPA is asking everyone in the pharmacy world and people far beyond, to share the video, using #pharmacyheroes on social media. Within hours of posting, the video had received over a thousand views on Twitter.…

End of month submissions and claiming payments (England)

COVID-19: MHRA takes action to halt sales of finger-prick coronavirus antibody testing kits

A further advance payment of £50m for community pharmacy will be paid on June 1 2020

Heatwave Plan for England now includes new COVID-19-specific resources

Professional organisations collaborate to give independent community pharmacists easier access to essential medicines information

Government loading more debt onto pharmacies makes action on C-19 costs urgent, says National Pharmacy Association

  Ministers have agreed to inject a further £50m of advance funding into community pharmacies at the end of May, according to an announcement by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) today. https://psnc.org.uk/our-news/contractor-update-psnc-secures-further-50m-injection-to-ease-cashflow-challenges/ The NPA said its members will benefit in the short term, but warned that this cash injection loads new debt onto pharmacies, many of which have little prospect of being able to pay it back. NPA chief executive, Mark Lyonette, said: “It is now more urgent than ever that the government fulfils commitments to repay all the extra costs incurred by pharmacies during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Today’s announcement make talks on cost recovery even more urgent. We need assurances on the medium term position, because this new advance effectively increases the level of pharmacies’ debt to government.  Many independent pharmacies will struggle to pay it back and should never be asked to do so. “This advance will make it easier for our members to pay their bills, for now, and to keep vital services going. But it isn’t new money and doesn’t get to the root of the funding problems. “Pharmacists are bearing a heavy financial burden in order to keep people safe and well.  As caring health care professionals, pharmacists have kept their doors open, often at considerable personal cost.…