Fear over transplant drug supply

Transplant patients could be at risk following a distribution change involving the supply of tacrolimus to hundreds of dis-pensing practices, according to dispensing GPs.

Dr David Baker
Dr David Baker

Astellas Pharma, the manufacturer of Prograf and Advagraf, both forms of tacrolimus, will be shifting distribution to one wholesaler, Unichem, from the end of this month.

However, the Dispensing Doctors Association (DDA) said that less than two weeks' notice had been given, which does not give hundreds of dispensing practices time to arrange a Unichem account.

It is estimated that only 150 of the UK's 1,400 dispensing practices currently have a Unichem account.

The DDA is meeting with Astellas to try to find a resolution, with options including asking for a U-turn on the single wholesaler move.

Dr Richard West, DDA chairman, was unhappy with the short notice given.

Dr David Baker, DDA chief executive, said the switch to a single supplier follows problems with the quantity of the treatment being made available.

'We have been told that it has got the quantity right, it's just that some of it is going to other markets. By switching to a single wholesaler it gives it greater control but we are arguing that what there needs to be is more supply in the first place and to continue with multiple suppliers.'

The DDA is advising dispensing GPs to ensure that they arrange to purchase enough of the stock to cover patients' immediate needs until the situation can be properly sorted.

In a statement Astellas Pharma said: 'This change is in response to reports from UK pharmacists that they have had difficulties obtaining Prograf.

'We have acted with urgency to ensure the supply of these medicines to patients. We are confident this action will ensure the supply of these life saving medicines to UK patients.'

GPletters@haymarket.com

Comment below and tell us what you think 

 

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

More than half of GP locums have seen a significant drop in income due to COVID-19

More than half of GP locums have seen a significant drop in income due to COVID-19

More than half of GP locums have experienced a significant fall in their income during...

How a GP helped develop a protective shield to cover patients needing CPR in the pandemic

How a GP helped develop a protective shield to cover patients needing CPR in the pandemic

Wiltshire GP Dr Lydia Campbell-Hill explains how she helped create a mini isolation...

GP practices can now sign up to new online PPE portal

GP practices can now sign up to new online PPE portal

GP practices will be able to register with the DHSC's new online PPE portal, which...

Fully-qualified GP workforce fell by 712 over the past year

Fully-qualified GP workforce fell by 712 over the past year

The fully-qualified GP workforce in England fell by 2.5%, losing 712 full-time equivalent...

MPs call for expert guidance on medico-legal implications of pandemic

MPs call for expert guidance on medico-legal implications of pandemic

A group of MPs has called on the government to set up an independent expert committee...

Coronavirus: Key guidance GPs need to know about COVID-19

Coronavirus: Key guidance GPs need to know about COVID-19

GPonline provides an overview of the key guidance relating to coronavirus, including...