Blog | Pharmacy Consulting https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk Supporting Primary Healthcare Mon, 25 Jun 2018 15:26:53 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 Regulation of Registered Pharmacies.. https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/regulation-of-registered-pharmacies/ https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/regulation-of-registered-pharmacies/#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 14:09:47 +0000 https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/?p=4158 The GPhC has launched on a consultation on proposals to develop its processes and procedures relating to the regulation of registered Pharmacies. Perhaps the most notable difference to Pharmacy owners is the stated intention to publish their inspection reports for the first time. This subject is sure to be a hot topic of conversation in Pharmacies during lunch breaks right now, one which may divide opinion among staff and may be evident in the feedback provided during this consultation stage. How divisive, only time will tell.

For those Pharmacy staff who may be apprehensive at the prospect of having these details published, are such fears justified? Perhaps not. Modern Pharmacy is already a very transparent profession and those working in it are used to being shadowed and observed by both trainer and trainee alike during many stages of their careers.

Employers already know the results of any success or failings of audits and inspections as is crucial for the safe and effective running of such a business by allowing them to address matters and concerns that may only become apparent to them by such findings. If the Pharmacy owner and its staff know the results of the findings, isn’t there a strong argument for the end user of any service, a patient who actually depends upon the products and services of that business and to whom a greater obligation is owed by any healthcare professional, that they too should be allowed to see the same information? We live in an age where many people check reviews of hotels and restaurants before they will stay or eat there and in the case of the latter, some may already be aware of the Scores On The Door system of verifying a food hygiene inspection status by the Food Standards Agency. If the general public are moving towards demanding greater transparency in how the food they consume is handled, then we can expect a similar shift in attitudes regarding medicine they or their family may take. Those working in the profession will already know of the high and tightly maintained standards designed to safeguard and protect the public but for the average layperson, this represents an opportunity to understand this process and have greater confidence in the quality of the end product, their medicine.

As is always the case with any regulation that extends to publishing its results publicly, critics might cite this as a perceived naming and shaming of individuals. This is unlikely to be the result. If anything it will encourage and foster a shared sense of responsibility among all staff employed in the business. There will be a greater enthusiasm to achieve success in something that all members feel they have an equal stake in and will benefit equally from positive public acclaim and recognition from future prospective employers. This will encourage a raising of standards across the board if only to motivate people who have traditionally not seen audits or inspections as being something that affects them as much as another member of staff.

Those pharmacies that perform well, stand to achieve greater business growth and the overwhelming majority of staff who take great pride in the quality of their work will rightly be recognized for doing so.

Now is the time to make this information available to public, if not only to demonstrate to patients the high quality service they are being provided with, but also to now factor good practice into the competitive element between Pharmacies.

Pharmacy professional staff will be familiar with Clinical Governance and the drive to ever increase the standard and quality of healthcare provided. This extends to all aspects of running a healthcare organisation or business including regulation and that is how this change should be viewed.

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Changes in Medical Device Regulation 1. https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/changes-in-medical-device-regulation-1/ https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/changes-in-medical-device-regulation-1/#respond Mon, 11 Jun 2018 11:20:36 +0000 https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/?p=4152 There have been major regulatory changes within the Medical Device market, with more coming in the form of the Medical Device Regulations (MDR) which is in the process of being implemented at the moment. The main change that has affected the market over the last 12months has been the introduction of Virtual Manufacturers.

The term Virtual Manufacturers (VM) has been introduced to replace the term Own Brand Labellers (OBL), these are companies who do not manufacturer their own products but go to an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to produce products packaged with the livery of the Virtual Manufacturer. This change in the UK was driven by some actual changes made across Europe and to align with the way other Competent Authorities in Europe were perceived to manage these companies. The main consequence of this change is the Virtual Manufacturers, as the new title implies, are seen a manufacturers in their own right and have to comply with the same standards as full blown manufacturers. Without going into specific detail this has massively increased the workload on Virtual Manufacturers and directly increased the cost of the products, to the extent that in Germany it has pretty much closed down this sector of the market.

Whilst no-one will argue that we shouldn’t continue to improve the quality of medical devices and the oversight of the manufacturers and suppliers it is difficult to see how this specific change achieves this, and certainly not in a way that legitimises the potentially significant increase in costs. The simplest analogy would be if Tesco stopped selling it’s value/own brand products, or were forced to increase the price to the same level as the branded product. Those most affected would be the poorest off, those who are reliant on the ‘value brands’, in the case of Medical Devices this is likely to be the NHS. With strong downward pressure on drug pricing via schemes like PPRS, it is ironic that as (hopefully) an unintended consequence of these changes the NHS is likely to struggle to maintain device prices let alone further reduce them.

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Pharmacist Locum Rates Under Pressure? https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/pharmacist-locum-rates-under-pressure/ https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/pharmacist-locum-rates-under-pressure/#respond Thu, 07 Jun 2018 19:24:28 +0000 https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/?p=4150 Pharmacist locum rates have been under pressure for some time and it is quite an established fact that they have been falling for some time now. Also they differ markedly throughout the United Kingdom, recent research by Locate a Locum suggests. The study looked at 30,000 shifts across a large number of locations and found Canterbury to be the best paid at just under £26 per hour with Northern Ireland being the lowest at an average of just over £17 an hour.

On first glance one might think the relative differences based on location could be due to associated living costs. Not so. London fared a disappointing average of just over £18 an hour. London postcodes are among the highest in the UK, meaning high rents and possibly having to face the impossibility of owning a home in London.

The locum rate quoted for London equates to an average salary of just over £35,000 per year pro rata. Given that the average first time buyer house price is £462,000 inside London, that locum would not only need to find an understanding lender that would agree a mortgage as a locum earning instead of a fixed salary, they would need about 13 times that salary as a mortgage. Ok so this includes the most expensive properties such as Chelsea which distort the average. Maybe but even the most affordable Borough of Barking and Dagenham averages about £255,000 for a first time buyer meaning over seven times the equivalent annual salary.

The pricing of locum rates does not tie in with cost of living and the authors have attributed it to oversupply of locums in some areas. But with such high prices and their subsequent trickle downwards into higher rent prices, will Pharmacists be willing or able to continue to work in this city indefinitely? Might we start to see an exodus of Pharmacists at some point from London either to other regions or professions if they can’t find the work? There is evidence that retainment of other healthcare professionals such as in nursing is becoming more difficult as the cost of London outpaces their salaries some of which have seen minimal or no real term increase.

The problem this will create may result in deterring some of the best applicants from becoming Pharmacists in future if they feel more valued elsewhere. A lot of effort goes into becoming a Pharmacist and it requires time and financial commitment especially with tuition fees jumping to record highs. Will all the people who care passionately about good healthcare be in a position to continue doing so if it means giving up any dream of homeownership in the city of their choosing or will they be happy to be part of the generation the media has dubbed generation rent?

Existing Pharmacists need to consider improving their skills if they wish to remain competitive in the jobs market. By considering training and additional skills you can be more valuable to your employer and reap the rewards of the additional career opportunities and job security they can help to provide.

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GDPR.. Are you compliant? https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/gdpr-are-you-compliant/ https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/gdpr-are-you-compliant/#respond Fri, 01 Jun 2018 11:06:17 +0000 https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/?p=4147 Changes to the way data is held and processed are now in place since the adoption of GDPR legislation which came into force on the 25th May. Unless you have been living on a desert island somewhere, you could hardly have failed to notice this given the plethora of emails flooding our inboxes these past few weeks.

As with any great legislative change that impacts directly on practice, healthcare professionals may once again be prone to the stress that such moves invariably induce. However, while it is necessary to comply with all legislation, it is easily achievable without a big headache if we follow the right process and alongside our planning, take time to think about the underlying principles of why this law came into being and what it aims to protect.

We have always had a duty to protect personal data of any patient. Now our roles and obligations have changed a little, such as the need for appointing Data Protection Officers. In addition, this definition of what is considered personal data has become broader. However, this alone should not ring alarm bells unduly. For example defining criteria such as biometric data and Internet Protocol Address (IP address) as now being personal data, should have minimal overall bearing on those that don’t store or use such data (besides perhaps doing a risk assessment to ensure this is the case).

It is therefore understandable why the well-known online monoliths that use widespread personal data processing and algorithm-based marketing, including your IP address as a marker, see this piece of legislation as challenging to their business model. Or more accurately a barrier that stops targeted  emailing or website customization to those that simply don’t want to be pitched to endlessly like a cast member of the Dragon’s Den.

I think this is one of the main points (albeit far from the only difference, to observe). This law will essentially offer greater overall data protection to everyone and gives individuals greater control over who sees their data and what is done with it. It is building on measures that should already be in place to protect data protection but is by no means the end result in itself.

This is echoed by the Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham who recently commented on a radio show that her department is not expecting initial perfection but a commitment to moving forward and are not looking to make examples of small businesses. GDPR is not the end of the process and neither should its implementation be according to Denham.

If you are a small business and looking to ensure compliance with the new GDPR law, Pharmacy Consulting Ltd can help you take steps in the right direction to achieve this.

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The 2D matrix code in support of the Falsified Medicines Directive – is your pharmaceutical manufacturing/wholesaling business ready? https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/the-2d-matrix-code-in-support-of-the-falsified-medicines-directive-is-your-pharmaceutical-manufacturing-wholesaling-business-ready/ https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/the-2d-matrix-code-in-support-of-the-falsified-medicines-directive-is-your-pharmaceutical-manufacturing-wholesaling-business-ready/#respond Tue, 29 May 2018 17:40:06 +0000 https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/?p=4145 In an effort to make the distribution and sale of pharmaceuticals safer than ever before, security features will become mandatory on the packaging of all prescription drugs in February 2019.  (Falsification of medicine is a serious threat to consumers and not just because close replicas can be inconsistent and unreliable, but some may result in adverse effects and perhaps even prove to be life-threatening.)  The technical and organisational details regarding the security features were published together with the Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/161 on February 9th, 2016.

To minimise the risk of tampering, pharmaceutical packaging will carry tamper-evident features of which the choice of technical specification is left to the manufacturers, just as long as it’s sufficiently suitable to deter all forms of tampering.

The other security feature will allow for the identification and verification of the authenticity of a medicine and will be in the form of a 2D matrix code on each pack and which can be ‘read’ by common scanners.  The 2D matrix code is used to check against an entry in an official repositories system during the distribution process with the whole system involving verification, decommissioning or recommissioning of serialised packs with the aim being to eliminate the risk of a falsified medicine entering the supply chain.

With February 2019 getting closer, the European GDP association conducted a survey in which over 100 companies across Europe responded.  Almost half of the respondents were from pharmaceutical manufacturers whilst 30% were wholesalers (the remainder were distribution service providers and transport companies).

It is quite clear, and concerning, that almost 30% of respondents are under the impression that the requirements are not relevant to them.

For those in a quality/regulatory function within a pharmaceutical manufacturing/wholesaling business with no plans to accommodate and utilise the 2D matrix code, perhaps it’s time to revisit the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/161 and check your business’ state of readiness for when the new medicine verification systems take effect from February 9th 2019.

Link to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/161:

https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/files/eudralex/vol-1/reg_2016_161/reg_2016_161_en.pdf

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Online Slimming Pills – are they worth it? https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/uncategorized/online-slimming-pills-are-they-worth-it/ https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/uncategorized/online-slimming-pills-are-they-worth-it/#respond Tue, 08 May 2018 12:28:14 +0000 https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/?p=4135 The sun is shining and it is around this time of year that people wish to start on a ‘fast fix’ diet, ready for the summer months. We get pulled in by the super models on the runway and celebs on the front of the magazines.

Lose 21lbs in a month? who wouldn’t want to do that BUT are people doing this the safe way? Almost everybody wishes to lose weight at some time or another, whether it be for the holidays or a special occasion, but what is the best and easiest way to do it?

When you use the search engine it comes up with a variety of different methods in losing weight – Local Slimming Clubs and Gym Memberships. Those methods take time though. Time that people these days don’t seem to have!

Internet sites promise the ‘fast fix’ approach that people want. With hundreds of testimonials, they must be good for you? Wrong!

After watching My5’s documentary on “Undercover – Nailing the Fraudsters” it states that 4 million pounds worth of pills have been seized over the past three years. It is said that 1 in 3 people trying to lose weight, have used these pills despite the risks that has been such strongly spoken about over the years.

In 2016 MHRA seized over 1.6 million fake or unlicensed medicines. Most of these tablets contain the substance Sibutramine. This was banned in the UK in 2010, due to adverse reactions such as; heart attacks, strokes and claiming 17 deaths. Other diet pills that are available on the internet contain DNP (Dinitrophenol) – this is a licenced product but not for weight loss, it is used a pesticide and herbicide which is not for human consumption. DNP has claimed up to 60 lives but it is still readily available.

After watching this programme, it comes to my attention that fake Slimming Pills is a growing and very dangerous trend.

Counterfeiters rely on the fact that people want a cheap easy fix and don’t want to involve their GP for fear of embarrassment. They set up a fake website offering us this magic elixir at heavily discounted prices.

In order to stay safe and ensure that the medicine we wish to purchase is genuine it is imperative that we follow a few simple steps:

  • Check that the online pharmacy is genuine. Does it display this logo link? The EU common logo must be displayed on every web page that offers to sell human medicines to the public.

  • Check the ingredients of products that claim to be ‘herbal’ or ‘all-natural’ they can actually contain chemical ingredients. Many contain Sibutramine – a medicine which was withdrawn from sale due to serious side effects including strokes and heart attacks, as mentioned above.
  • Are the prices ‘’too good to be true’’? If so – they probably are.

 

If, after doing these checks, you should come across what you suspect to be a ‘fake’ website – report it  via the MHRA website Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.  The MHRA, the UK licencing body for medicines and medical devices, are currently running a fake meds campaign to combat the illegal trade in fake medicines.

Think! Is saving money by buying counterfeit diet pills, worth the cost of losing a life?

 

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Dispensing Errors The New Legislation https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/dispensing-errors-the-new-legislation/ https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/dispensing-errors-the-new-legislation/#respond Tue, 01 May 2018 15:28:40 +0000 https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/?p=4132 A new legislation introducing new legal defences to prevent the automatic criminalisation of inadvertent dispensing errors are now in place.

The legislation has been signed into law to protect community pharmacists from prosecution over dispensing errors. This change aims to increase patient safety by reducing the fear of criminal prosecution amongst pharmacists and encourage a more open culture of error reporting by reducing this fear.

This has largely been welcomed upon by the working community pharmacists. The next step would be working on ways to reduce dispensing errors.

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Superintendent Pharmacist wanted for more than one business? https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/super-intendent-pharmacist-wanted-for-more-than-one-business/ https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/super-intendent-pharmacist-wanted-for-more-than-one-business/#respond Tue, 24 Apr 2018 14:19:30 +0000 https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/?p=4122 Department of Health and Social Care is considering the possibility of having a superintendent pharmacist overseeing more than one pharmacy business.

Nevertheless, it seems they will retain the rule that a pharmacist can only be the responsible pharmacist for one pharmacy at the same time. They do wish to “clarify that the responsible pharmacist duty extends to pharmacy businesses ‘at or from’ the premises for which the responsible pharmacist is in charge – e.g. home deliveries”.

The board proposed that the professional standards for superintendents, which extend beyond the sale and supply of medicines, to other pharmacy services.

The Department of Health and Social Care plans to hold a 12-week public consultation on its proposal.

Ref: C&D News 14.03.2018

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A Pioneer for female pharmacists https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/behind-the-scenes/elsie-hooper-a-pioneer-for-female-pharmacists/ https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/behind-the-scenes/elsie-hooper-a-pioneer-for-female-pharmacists/#respond Fri, 09 Mar 2018 11:14:03 +0000 https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/?p=4101 Elsie Hooper (1879-1969), a pioneer for female pharmacists in the early 1900’s is being celebrated on International Women’s Day 2018.

On 17th June 1911, a small group of female pharmacists joined the Women’s Coronation Procession – alongside these pharmacists where a 40,000-strong march from Westminster to the Albert Hall in support of votes for women. Alongside those marching was Elsie Hooper. Elsie was born in 1879 and joined the Pharmaceutical Society in 1902 and shortly after became the first secretary of the National Association of Women Pharmacists. Elsie was one of the first ever females to receive two prestigious research awards – The Redwood Research Scholarship and the Pharmaceutical Society’s Burroughs Scholarship.

Further on into her career Elsie went on to own/manage two London pharmacies in Belsize Park and Hampstead. She was well known for her encouragement of female apprentices.

As well as a vast knowledge in Pharmaceuticals, Elsie also had a successful career in publishing and academia. She worked on the first British Pharmaceutical Codex, published in 1907. She also taught at the Gordon Hall School of Pharmacy in North London between 1920 and 1942, in which later she became the school’s proprietor.

 

– Jackie Peck

www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk

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Counterfeit Diet Pills – What Is the True Cost? https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/counterfeit-diet-pills-what-is-the-true-cost/ https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/blog/counterfeit-diet-pills-what-is-the-true-cost/#respond Fri, 23 Feb 2018 13:26:11 +0000 https://www.pharmacyconsulting.co.uk/?p=4055 Almost everybody wishes to lose weight at some time or another, whether it be for the holidays or a special occasion, but what is the best and easiest way to do it?

A quick internet search shows a variety of methods from joining a slimming club, dieting or going to the gym.  All of these methods take time and dedication in order to achieve the desired results, and here lies the rub.

In a world of fast foods, fast cars and, on the whole, a faster way of living why shouldn’t we have fast weight loss too? Internet sites promise, in some cases, that you can lose on average 21lbs per month using diet pills – but which ones to use – there are so many it doesn’t matter right?  After all they have been tested and are safe to use – wrong!

As highlighted in a recent episode of BBC’s Casualty, a lady in a care home was freely dispensing diet pills to her friends as part of a beauty regime. She was under the impression that they were from a ‘good’ company and ‘guaranteed’ to be safe.  It became apparent that the pills contained Sibutramine, which was suspended from the UK market in 2010, amid fears it increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes and was, as it turns out, a counterfeit medicine.

If you think this can only happen in TV land to unsuspecting little old ladies then think again!  Even musical icons can allegedly become a casualty of the counterfeit pill problem sweeping the global market.

The autopsy report, for a particular musical icon, allegedly concluded that he died from a lethal dose of a powerful opioid called fentanyl which is a drug that can be up to 100 times more powerful than morphine.  From investigations carried out it is believed that the pop icon didn’t know what he was taking as the container was marked with a label that’s found on a generic painkiller that contains acetaminophen and hydrocodone — the ingredients of many commonly prescribed painkillers, including Vicodin.

Counterfeiters rely on the fact that people want a cheap easy fix and don’t want to involve their GP for fear of embarrassment. They set up a fake website offering us this magic elixir at heavily discounted prices.

In order to stay safe and ensure that the medicine we wish to purchase is genuine it is imperative that we follow a few simple steps:

  • Check that the online pharmacy is genuine. Does it display this logo link?  The EU common logo must be displayed on every web page that offers to sell human medicines to the public.

  • Check the ingredients of products that claim to be ‘herbal’ or ‘all-natural’ they can actually contain chemical ingredients. Many contain Sibutramine – a medicine which was withdrawn from sale due to serious side effects including strokes and heart attacks, as mentioned above.
  • Are the prices ‘’too good to be true’’? If so – they probably are.

 

If, after doing these checks, you should come across what you suspect to be a ‘fake’ website – report it  via the MHRA website Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.  The MHRA, the UK licencing body for medicines and medical devices, are currently running a fake meds campaign to combat the illegal trade in fake medicines.

Think! Is saving money by buying counterfeit diet pills, as dramatized in the programme Casualty, worth the cost of losing a life?

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