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Friday Letter 01/03/2019

Friday 1st March 2019

Controlled Drugs in EPS – National roll out begins!

For TPP Systmone, the national roll out of Controlled Drugs in EPS began yesterday, Thursday 28th February. Next week, on Tuesday 5th March the roll out will begin for Vision GP Practices.

As a result of this roll out, please prepare for the volume of CD prescriptions received via CD to rise and ensure all of your pharmacy staff and locums are aware of the changes.

A schedule 2 or three controlled drug is to be dispensed in the same way as all other electronic prescriptions.

February 2019 price concessions

The final list of price concessions for February 2019 has been granted, please see on the PSNC website.

Click here to view.

De-medicalisation of a large number of conditions previously classified as a medical condition | NHS England

Published 23rd February 2019, the following article from NHS England regarding the de-medicalisation of various conditions following a recent trial.

Tens of thousands of people have been helped to overcome back pain, arthritis and other muscle, bone and joint conditions without going to hospital, thanks to additional specialist care at local GP surgeries. This means that as a result of a new approach prescription volumes will decrease.

Trials in 41 areas including Nottingham, West Cheshire and Gloucestershire have seen patients choosing to be assessed and treated for common musculoskeletal conditions by physiotherapists with enhanced skills based in GP practices, rather than waiting to see a GP to get a referral to hospital.

Recent Supply Issues

Please be aware of the following supply issues.

Shortage of Valproate
Preparations (Epilim and Depakote)

Sanofi has issued a statement regarding the temporary disruption of their service, leading to lower stock levels. This is expected to continue until mid-march 2019.

Also, pack sizes of valproate have been changed from 100 to 30 tablets. Therefore, the packs of 100 may appear as “unavailable” on ordering systems and the packs of 30 should be selected instead.

Click here to view the statement from Sanofi


Due to discontinuation from some manufacturers as well as supply difficulties from other manufacturers, there are supply issues affecting Metoprolol 50mg and 100mg tablets. There are supply available but this may be limied and levels are expected to be intermittent in the coming months.

Click here for the shortage memo from SPS

March Campaigns 2019

There are several health campaigns and awareness days that your pharmacy teams can get involved in throughout March, beginning with a PHE campaign to encourage women to go for their cervical cancer screenings on 5th March.

Click here for a list of upcoming campaigns and links to resources

Children’s vaccine 87% effective against circulating flu strain | GOV.UK

Published 22nd February 2019, the following article from GOV.UK on data suggesting that the nasal flu vaccine used on children in the UK is 87% effective.

Public Health England (PHE) has published mid-season data on the effectiveness of this year’s flu vaccines. 

The data suggests that the nasal spray flu vaccine is 87% effective in children aged 2 to 17 years against the main circulating strain, influenza A(H1N1)pmd09.

The vaccine given to adults aged 18 to 64 in at-risk groups is estimated to be 39% effective against the same strain. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 has been the main strain circulating this season. As the number of cases is lower, a precise estimate for those aged 65 and over will not be available until the end of the season.

Free CPD- antihistamines and pruritus

From Healthy Professional Academy, a free CPD module for pharmacists ‘The latest thinking on antihistamines and pruritus’.

LPC Pharmacy event- 14th March 2019

Note: This event is for Community Pharmacy Staff in our area only.

The LPC event below presents you with an opportunity to work with your peers in the area and shape your profession and your Primary Care Network.

Preparing for Primary Care Networks and Working with GPs

  • When: Thursday 14th March, 7pm – 9:30pm
  • Where: Best Western Plus, Epping Forest, 30 Oak Hill, Woodford Green, London IG8 9NY

Places are limited, allocated on a first come first served basis. You will not be permitted entry without registration.

Book now to avoid disappointment:

Deadly diet drug DNP can kill | RPS

Published 25th February 2019, an article from RPS raising awareness of the dangers of DNP being used as diet drug, which has seen a significant number of deaths and incidents of harm to health in the UK.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has issued a warning about an industrial chemical used in pesticides and explosives which is unfit for human consumption but sold illegally on the Internet for weight loss. 

DNP (2,4-dinitrophenol) acts as a “fat burner” by raising the metabolism to dangerous levels and has contributed to a significant number of deaths, as well as instances of serious harm to health, in the UK.

Despite its dangers, DNP has gained in popularity among the fitness and bodybuilding communities. It has also been sold to consumers with eating disorders or body image concerns.

Reminder: Pregabalin and Gabapentin will be reclassified in one month.

As of 1st April 2019, Pregabalin and Gabapentin will be reclassified as controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, and Class C of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Please be reminded of the following briefing, ensure you are familiar with the changed and inform your pharmacy staff in preparation for the reclassification next month.

PCRA Community Pharmacy NE London meeting

Registration for the Primary Care Respiratory Academy (PCRA) 2019 Community Pharmacy Meeting in North East London on 14th May is now open!

We recognise that respiratory is a very high priority for you, as you manage sore throats, cough, hay fever, inhalers, antibiotics, flu vaccinations, tobacco dependency, medicines management and self-management advice daily. Clearly, you need to ensure you have the competencies to provide the best possible care for all patients with respiratory illness.

And because respiratory features in Targeted Medicine Use Reviews, New Medicines Service and quality payments, you will be looking increasingly to respiratory for financial reasons.

Benefit from the advice of local experts Usha Shah and Hetal Dhruve by registering now to secure your place at our free North East London event on 14th May 2019.

Drug Alert Class 4: Paracetamol Infusion, Accord. (MDR 07-02/19)

Published Thursday 28th February 2019

There is an error within the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) for the Paracetamol infusion from Accord Healthcare Limited. Please see an overview below, access and read through the full alert and take the required action in response to this error.

Product description

Paracetamol 10mg/ml Solution for Infusion

MAH Holders

Actavis Group PTC ehf, PL 30306/0391

Accord Healthcare Limited, PL 20075/0701

Brief description of the problem

Accord Healthcare Limited has informed us that there is an error on the portion of the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) for the above product which is intended for Healthcare Professionals. The PIL for Paracetamol 10mg/ml Solution for Infusion is a joint PIL between the 50ml vial and the 100ml vial.

The error applies to the 50ml vial, which is not currently marketed. The 100ml vial is restricted for use in adults, adolescents and children weighing more than 33kg but we cannot rule out the possibility that it is being used for the treatment of term newborn infants, infants, toddlers and children weighing 33kg or less. All unexpired batches of the product currently on the market supplied by both Marketing Authorisation holders listed above are within scope.

In the incorrect version of the PIL, the maximum volume of solution for administration to babies and infants weighing 10kg or less is given as 75ml on the dosage table intended for Healthcare professionals. The correct maximum volume for administration to this group is 7.5ml, however.

The PIL has already been corrected and can be accessed here.

Click here for the full alert on the GOV.UK website.

Interview with Mark Livingstone, CEO of Pharmacy2U| Pharmacy Magazine

An interview from Pharmacy Magazine, with the CEO of Pharmacy2U, Mark Livingstone.

Click here to view.

It’s Official: Hay Fever Season Has Started Already – And Might Last For Ages | HuffPost UK

Click here for the full article

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