Fear over transplant drug supply

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

Dr David Baker
Dr David Baker

Astellas Pharma, the manufacturer of Prograf, which contains 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 get 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 David Baker, DDA chief executive, said the switch to a single supplier follows problems with not enough quantity of the treatment being made available.

‘It has told us 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 this 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.’

Astellas has said in a statement that: ‘This change is in response to recent 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 - taking the decision to distribute our transplant medicines directly to pharmacists and other dispensing points. 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

Most children could be removed from shielded patient list, deputy CMO suggests

Most children could be removed from shielded patient list, deputy CMO suggests

Most children could be removed from the shielded patient list in a future wave of...

GPs can provide some care for shielded patients in clinical settings, NHS England confirms

GPs can provide some care for shielded patients in clinical settings, NHS England confirms

GPs can provide care to shielded patients in 'infection-controlled clinical settings'...

How digital assistants can help patients manage their health and wellbeing

How digital assistants can help patients manage their health and wellbeing

A project in Staffordshire has shown how practices can make use of digital technology...

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...

Fair death-in-service deal for locums vital before second COVID-19 wave, warns BMA

Fair death-in-service deal for locums vital before second COVID-19 wave, warns BMA

The government must do ‘the right thing’ and secure adequate death-in-service benefits...

GP workload fears over antibody testing rollout for 'no clinical benefit'

GP workload fears over antibody testing rollout for 'no clinical benefit'

GP practices are being contacted by patients asking for antibody tests as the government...