Unlicensed Medicines Woes in the UK

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeI’ve written frequently about the problem of counterfeit medicines in the United Kingdom and how the country’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is working to prevent these, but counterfeits are not the only potentially dangerous medicines that are becoming increasingly prevalent. In a recent news release, the MHRA explained it is receiving a growing number of reports of unlicensed medicines being sold across the UK. Read more »

ABPI Issues Call to Improve UK Pharma

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThe head of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has issued a stark warning about the state of the UK’s pharmaceutical industry. In particular, concerns have been raised about the lack of new medicines being used by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), which has affected the profits of the pharmaceutical industry and led to a decline of R&D in the country. Read more »

UK Examines Earlier Access to Medicines

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeLast week, I looked at a consultation in the UK concerning access to unlicensed medicines. The 12-week consultation, launched by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), seeks opinions on giving physicians the option to prescribe seriously ill patients certain medicines that are still progressing through Phase II and Phase III clinical trials. The blog is available here.

The scheme forms a key part of the UK government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences, which aims to support innovation and give the UK a leading role in life sciences globally. Included in this is a provision to provide patients with better access to innovative medicines. Read more »

UK Mulls Access to Unlicensed Medicines

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThe UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recently launched a 12-week public consultation for a national scheme that will look at the possibility of providing seriously ill patients with access to unlicensed medicines still in Phase III, or possibly even Phase II, clinical trials. Similar initiatives, mainly through extensions of clinical trials or managed-access programmes, are already in place in certain parts of the UK, as well as in the US and other countries, but these are often ad-hoc in nature and locally based. The proposed scheme would provide a national approach to providing early access to certain medicines in the UK.

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GSK’s Olympic Role

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThere are many ways in which pharmaceutical companies can make a contribution to society beyond developing and manufacturing medicines. GlaxoSmithKline, based in the UK, has always been keen to position itself as a supporter of the British economy so it’s no surprise to see the pharma giant being patriotic once again as it touts its involvement in the Olympic Games, which will start in London in just under two-weeks time. Read more »

Parallel Trade Fuels UK Drug Shortages

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeA bill has recently been in discussion in the US that contains measures to strengthen the ways in which drug shortages are dealt with. The US FDA is also taking action by asking companies to alert them as to possible drug shortages so that it can prepare back ups. But what about other parts of the world?

Drug shortages are not unique to the US. The UK is also currently struggling with severe shortages of prescription medicines. In the US, many shortages have been attributed to plant closures or manufacturing problems, but in the UK the shortages are being caused for a different reason: parallel trade.

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Cheap Drugs Versus Expensive Drugs

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThe pricetag of pharmaceuticals are coming under increasing scrutiny in today’s age of cost constraints. Drug development is expensive and high prices are necessary, but governments and healthcare payers are not always willing to pay the price that pharmaceutical companies are asking.

In the UK, the National Health System (NHS) has taken the controversial step of cutting the cost of treating wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by prescribing a cheaper drug over a more expensive one. The controversial element? The cheaper drug isn’t licensed for wet AMD. Read more »

Anticounterfeiting Success in the UK

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeIn the last five years, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has seized counterfeit drugs worth more than £25 million ($41 million), but the war isn’t over yet. Counterfeit products are still a threat to the UK, which is why the agency has launched a new anticounterfeiting strategy called the Falsified Medical Products Strategy 2012–2015. The strategy includes several measures centred around prevention, incident management and investigation. Read more »

GSK Causes UK Celebration

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeGlaxoSmithKline this week gave the UK government and several trade organisations reason to celebrate after announcing that it will build a new manufacturing facility in the country — the first in almost forty years. The facility will be dedicated to biopharmaceuticals and will create new jobs in Ulveston, Cumbria, which has been chosen for the new site. Read more »

GSK CEO Knighted

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeFirst of all, I wish all of you a very happy new year! The pharma industry and its workers have been through a lot of hardships in recent times with huge job losses, eroding profits and drying pipelines. A lot of gloomy predictions have been made about 2012 (including ongoing economic woes and the end of the world) but let’s hope that this year finally brings good times for pharma as it seems that the industry is well overdue for a successful year.

For Andrew Witty, the CEO of British pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline, the year is definitely off to a good start after he was knighted for services to the UK economy and pharmaceutical industry. Sir Andrew as he will now be known received the royal recognition in the UK’s 2012 New Year’s Honours List. Almost 1000 people received awards of varying kinds.  Read more »

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