BAPW Business Day 2015

After a successful 2014 Business Day at Manchester United’s Old Trafford Stadium, 2015 saw a continuation of the sporting theme, with this year’s Business Day taking place at Warwickshire County Cricket Club’s Edgbaston Ground in Birmingham. Seventy guests and speakers enjoyed a varied and thought-provoking day overlooking the green grass of the venue for the Third Ashes Test Match against Australia this summer.

The day was kicked off by the BAPW’s Executive Director Martin Sawer who emphasised that the Association’s members were the backbone of medicines supply across the UK and part of a complex market with multiple moving parts such as the globalisation of supply; the development of the homecare market in the UK and the ongoing financial challenges facing the NHS. He again highlighted that the BAPW needed to stress the value of medicine distribution at every opportunity; promote good relationships both up and down the supply chain; broaden its representation to reflect channel evolution and continue to take a leadership role on key topics such as falsified medicines, supporting community pharmacy and secondary care.

As with previous Business Days, attendees heard from a local healthcare representative, in this case Michelle Dyoss a public health practitioner with Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, who provided a perspective on the unique approaches being adopted to tackle specific local health challenges.

By ensuring that community pharmacy works in closer harmony with public health authorities, Michelle outlined how significant progress can be made in a number of areas including flu vaccinations; minor ailments; smoking cessation and sexual health.  She also identified a number of areas that wholesalers could assist such endeavours through partnering on training, working with pharmaceutical companies to launch new medicines and offering discounts on products used in the new pharmacy-delivered services. 

The BAPW’s close relationship with key regulators was highlighted by the MHRA’s Head of Enforcement, Alastair Jeffrey, who delivered a frank, but fascinating, insight into the battle against illegal and potentially dangerous medicines and medical devices. Having a background at the Metropolitan Police was of obvious benefit to Alastair as he outlined the wide range of investigations he and his team undertake. He noted that international co-operation is becoming increasingly important as global criminal gangs move into the pharmaceutical sector and ‘trade’ across national borders.

David Watson, Director of Pricing and Reimbursement at ABPI presented his trade association’s views on the challenges facing healthcare in the UK – most notably access to innovative medicines. He went onto speculate over the future landscape for medicines, in which speciality medicines will dominate, but where questions over affordability and uptake of new treatments will be significant hurdles. Concluding on the current Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), David argued that the outcome was broadly positive for the industry as the PPRS aims to increase the adoption of innovation, pledges to reform NICE and maintains the freedom to set price and list prices. Concerns do remain however over the growth, predictability and stability throughout the scheme as well as the actual delivery of the reform commitments.

After a networking lunch, Business Day delegates were exposed to an issue they may not have considered before as Richard Bright from the HMRC, Tim Lux of Pathfinder Consulting and AGR’s Melissa Cupis, explained the importance of the Authorised Economic Operator Regulations. Designed in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the changes aim to provide an internationally recognised quality mark to signify that a business operates within a secure supply chain. They also seek to reduce data requirements and give easier access to customs by harmonising regulation around the world.

The Business Day was closed by Richard Freudenberg, Chief Executive of the European Association of Euro-Pharmaceutical Companies who presented the latest status of the Falsified Medicines Directive from Brussels. Focusing on the European Medicines Verification Organisation (EMVO), the group of stakeholders that will oversee the implementation and running of the EU Hub – the crucial IT system that underpins the whole anti-counterfeit scheme. Concluding the day on such an important topic for the medicines supply chain highlighted the great value such BAPW networking events brings to all Association members. We are glad to report that the feedback has been extremely positive and as a result would like to extend our thanks to all those who took the time out of their busy schedules to speak at the Business Day.

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