1. November 2011 14:44
The ABPI has backed proposals from the MHRA to repeal part of the Medicines Act which allows pharmacists to trade overseas without the need for a wholesalers licence.
Pharmacists can currently sell medicines intended for UK patients at an inflated rate to customers abroad and could potentially lead to a shortage for patients and the NHS.
Stephen Whitehead, CEO of the ABPI, says the current practice is “not acceptable” and the repeal of the legislation “is a good first step” for patients and the health service.
The proposal is expected to be approved and implemented in 2012.
The new legislation would mean that pharmacies will only be permitted to trade when there is a necessary public health need, when small quantities are required, the order is infrequent and deals are non-profit.
The UK has some of the lowest medicine prices in Europe. This has resulted, the ABPI says, in “flowing out of the UK” and having a direct effect on supplies.
“The ABPI welcomes the MHRA proposal to end the trading of medicines by pharmacies that do not have a wholesale dealers licence, except in exceptional circumstances to meet a public health need,” said Mr Whitehead.
“To fully address this challenge it is now essential that pharmacies who serve NHS patients directly need to separate wholesaling activities from pharmacy dispensing activities.
“The ABPI looks forward to taking an active role in solving the on-going challenges.”