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MPs address concerns over medicines supply in Parliament

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Following Community Pharmacy England’s Parliamentary drop-in event on medicines supply issues last week, several MPs have since raised questions to the Health Secretary during a Health Questions session on July 18th.

According to CPE, MPs from all Parties displayed great engagement with the current pressures facing community pharmacies, particularly regarding medicines supply issues.

During last week’s event, Mike Amesbury, the MP for Weaver Vale, was present and directed a question to the Health Secretary: “Eighteen community pharmacists in my constituency are reporting challenges with medicine supplies. What further actions will the Minister take to address and resolve this situation effectively?”

In response, Health Secretary Steve Barclay MP stated, “We have a dedicated team in the Department that focuses on medical supplies, which are an ongoing concern. Challenges in this area are a routine part of our business.”

The Shadow Pharmacy Minister, Karin Smyth MP, also expressed concerns, saying, “People across the country depend on local, accessible pharmacies. However, whether it’s high street closures or supply issues resulting in the absurd situation where women have to call or visit multiple pharmacies for a prescribed dose of hormone replacement therapy and other medications… Despite announcing plans to expand the role of community pharmacies, they have neglected to update legislation that could potentially offer assistance. Why are they unwilling to take action on this matter?”

In response, Pharmacy Minister Neil O’Brien said, “I’ve highlighted four different reforms we are implementing. To provide a broader perspective, there are now more pharmacies in England than in 2010, along with an increase of 24,000 pharmacists. Additionally, we’re investing £645 million in various services that were not available during Labour’s tenure.”

“It was great to see MPs who we briefed at our Parliamentary drop-in event go on to question the Health Secretary on this extremely important issue,” said Janet Morrison OBE, Chief Executive of CPE. “As we made clear at the time, instability in the medicines market is fast becoming the most critical issue facing community pharmacy owners and we now need the government to lead on a strategic review of medicines supply. We will continue to work with Parliamentarians to make this case.”

Meanwhile, CPE submitted a detailed response to the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s pharmacy inquiry. Oral evidence sessions are expected to take place when Parliament returns in the Autumn, following similar inquiries in other primary care sectors like dentistry and general practice.

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