LONDON, 6 July (APM) - The National Health Service in England is stockpiling medicines in anticipation of a hard Brexit, it was widely reported at the weekend.
Several newspapers picked up comments from NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens that here was 'immediate planning' around the Department for Health and in hospitals about 'securing medical supply' under different scenarios for the UK’s exit from the EU.
He told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “Nobody’s pretending this is a desirable situation but if that’s where we get to then it will not have been unforeseen”. (APMHE 58757
Corbyn warned that hard Brexit could hit drug supply
Three former Labour health secretaries have written to current leader Jeremy Corbyn, warning that a hard Brexit could jeopardise supply of medicines.
Frank Dobson, Alan Milburn and Alan Johnson signed a letter discussing the potential wide impact of Brexit on the NHS, including the importance of frictionless trade to ensure medicines can freely enter the country.
“Millions of consignments of vital medicines and medical equipment move in and out of the UK every week. Any new customs checks or regulatory barriers for these time-critical movements could have very serious implications for care, as well as pushing up costs.”
Priorities for life sciences in Scotland
The Times on Monday picked up a report on Scotland’s life sciences sector that says growing revenues and investing in research are the industry’s main priorities.
The survey, which was compiled by Life Sciences Scotland, found close to 24% of respondents saw scaling up sales as their main target and 21% identified further spending on research and development as their top aim.
The survey also highlighted concerns over the UK’s exit from the EU, including access to funding and customers. Many were worried about the impact Brexit may have on their ability to attract and retain suitably skilled staff.
Pfizer increases prices of 100 drugs
Pfizer has raised the prices of 100 products in the U.S. just weeks after president Donald Trump said the industry was to implement “massive” reductions, the FT said on Tuesday.
The paper said that the price increases, which include erectile dysfunction treatment Viagra, were effective as of 1 July and in most cases were of more than 9%. This is well above U.S. inflation of 2%.
Pfizer also decreased the prices of five products by between 16% and 44%, the paper added.
Pfizer told the FT that the list price of drugs did not reflect the actual cost for patients and insurance companies and that the net price increase, which takes into account for rebates, was expected to be in low single digits.
Brexit could lead to further drug shortages in Ireland
Brexit could lead to further drug shortages in Ireland, The Times said on Tuesday.
More than 120 medicines are out of stock, according to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).
Trade body Medicines for Ireland said this could be exacerbated as the practice of “batch sharing” medicine with the UK might be disrupted by Brexit. This is when medicines packed in the UK are marketed and supplied in Ireland.
After the UK leaves the EU, its regulatory regime may diverge from the EU, meaning that medicines approved for use in the UK may not be approved for use in Ireland.
GSK board member sued in U.S. for role in opioid crisis
A GlaxoSmithKline board member is among a number of people being sued by the U.S. state of Massachusetts over the U.S. opioid addiction crisis, the FT said on Wednesday. (APMHE 58787
The lawsuit is seeking damages from 16 individuals, many of whom are members of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, which owns it.
Judy Lewent has been a GSK non-executive director since April 2011 and was on the board of U.S. company Purdue Pharma until 2014.
Biogen/Eisai say experimental drug positive in Phase II for Alzheimer's
The FT on Friday reports that Biogen and Eisai have notched up a rare success in the notoriously difficult field of Alzheimer's research, announcing that one of their drugs had succeeded in a mid-stage trial.
In Phase II, codenamed BAN2401, the cognitive ability of patients on a very high dose of the drug declined more slowly than those taking a placebo.
The full results of the trial will be presented at a future medical meeting. The drug, which is being developed by Eisai, is being tested in patients with the earliest stage of Alzheimer's, known as mild cognitive impairment.
The companies said that brain scans of patients showed the drug had also managed to reduce the amount of beta amyloid in the brain. They did not give details of their Phase III trial plans.