MPs question health secretary on medicines supply issues in Parliament


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In the parliamentary drop-in-event hosted by Community Pharmacy England last week, Members of Parliament (MPs) questioned the Health Secretary on the rising issue of medicines supply. 

“Eighteen community pharmacists in my constituency are reporting challenges on medicine supplies. What more is the Minister going to do to get a grip of this situation?”, Mike Amesbury MP for Weaver Vale, who was present at the event last week, asked the Health Secretary.

In his response, the Health Secretary, Steve Barclay MP said: “We have a long-standing team in the Department focused on medical supplies, which are a continual issue; as a matter of routine business, there are often challenges in that area.”

The Shadow Pharmacy Minister, Karin Smyth MP, also asked: “People across the country rely on local, accessible pharmacies, but whether it is high street closures or supply problems leading to the absurd situation where women are phoning or visiting multiple pharmacies for a prescribed dose of hormone replacement therapy and other drugs…They have repeatedly announced plans to expand the role of community pharmacies but have failed to update legislation that could possibly help. … Why will they not do so?

In his response, the Pharmacy Minster, Neil O’Brien said: “I have given a flavour of the four different reforms we are making. To give the wider picture, there are more pharmacies in England than there were in 2010, there are 24,000 more pharmacists in England than there were in 2010 and we are putting in £645 million to provide a bunch of services that were not there when Labour was in office”.

Janet Morrison OBE, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy England said: “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. 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.”

Full list of MPs who attended last week’s drop-in event on medicines supply issues:

  • Maria Miller (researcher)
  • Alex Cunningham
  • Mike Amesbury
  • Daisy Cooper (researcher)
  • Jonathan Gullis
  • Priti Patel
  • Peter Aldous
  • Kate Osborne
  • Simon Jupp
  • Feryal Clark (researcher)
  • Justin Madders
  • Chris Green
  • Wendy Morton
  • Caroline Johnson (researcher)
  • Dehenna Davison (researcher)



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