Friday Letter 20/03/2020

Friday 20th March 2020

COVID-19 – Measures for Community Pharmacies

On 19th March 2020, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Dr Keith Ridge has written a second letter to pharmacies to confirm measures that are in place to support pharmacies and their patients, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

A home delivery service and urgent medicine supply from pharmacies has been commissioned by the government. More detail on this will be available in due course.

In addition, the following measures were announced:

  • Pharmacy Quality Scheme: the scheme will be postponed for three months and the period of delay will be kept under review. The released £18.75 million will be delivered to contractors for activity associated with the COVID-19 response.
  • Hepatitis C testing service: the introduction of this Advanced Service will be delayed from April 2020 for at least three months.
  • Pharmacy Integration Fund pilots: the three pilots announced last month (blood pressure testing; stop smoking support; and point of care testing) have been postponed until further notice.
  • Community Pharmacist Consultation Service: existing pilots for GP referrals to the service will remain in place, but will not be extended at this time.
  • Community pharmacy patient questionnaire (CPPQ) and pharmacy clinical audits: NHSE&I will not take action against contractors who have not completed these by 31st March 2020.
  • Practice leaflets: NHSE&I will not take action against contractors who have not updated their practice leaflets during the period of the pandemic.
  • Public health campaigns: for the time being, these will only be focused on the national COVID-19 response.
  • Data Security and Protection Toolkit: the current submission deadline has been amended from 31st March 2020 to 30th September 2020.

Please see the PSNC website for more detail on the above changes,  click here to view the full guidance page and update.

Class 2 Medicines Recall: Urgent action for pharmacies

Please read through the following Class 2 medicines recall and action urgently, if you have not already done so.

Class 2 Medicines Recall: Esmya 5mg tablets

Update on GOV.​UK.
Class 2 Medicines Recall: Esmya 5mg tablets, EU/1/12/750/001-5, (EL(20)A/16)

Published: 11:01am, 18 March 2020
If you have any questions about the medical content in this email, contact MHRA on

Community pharmacy staff and those involved in the medicines supply chain are key workers

Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Even though we do not have a specific mention.

Advice for primary care professionals dealing with patients with suspected Covid-19. 

This advice has been updated to reflect stay-at-home guidance.

March 2020 Price Concessions – 2nd update

An update to the March 2020 price concessions has been granted.

Click here to view on the PSNC website

CAS Alert: NSAIDs and COVID-19

This alert addresses recent concern about the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) in relation to Covid-19.

If you have not done so already, please read through and update your team on this information

Click here to view the full alert

Paracetamol shortages

As many of you are aware, there are significant shortages in paracetamol products due to a shortage of supplies if raw materials from China. In addition, patients are stockpiling. As a result, there are bare shelves in pharmacies.

The CCGs have recommend that prescribing patterns should not change:

  • Prescribe  usual quantities for patients who use it regularly for chronic pain
  • Do not prescribe prophylactically.
  • Prescribe reasonable quantities for acute pain, headaches, fever.

This advice aims to prevent patient stockpiling as there is also a risk of accidental poisoning which is why OTC quantities are limited to packs of 32 & 16.

Coronavirus update webpage – North East London CCGs

The CCGs have a single dedicated website for GP, which is being updated as information becomes available from the centre.

Community pharmacists can also access this. The medicines Optimisation Team is in the Process of updating the site with specific medicines optimisation information on the use of Paracetamol, Ibuprofen etc, you may wish to check this site regularly to keep updated with guidance and information.

click here to view

Class 4 FMD Medicines Information – Multiple Products

Class 4 FMD Medicines Information: WDA(H) 50340 HMS Wholesale Limited, Multiple Products, (EL (20)A/17)

Page summary

The MHRA is currently investigating an incident where several medicines appear to have left the legal supply chain and have then been re-introduced via WDA(H) 50340 HMS Wholesale Limited. This License has now been terminated. Only the batch numbers mentioned in the PDF are within the scope of this alert. If you have received any of these batches listed in appendix 1 of the PDF, from WDA(H) 50340 HMS Wholesale Limited, please follow the advice below.

First published: 2:00pm, 19 March 2020

If you have any questions about the medical content in this email, contact MHRA on

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