News on pharmaceuticals


Cancer drugs unit’s water contaminated by legionella

Legionella and pseudomonas were found in water meant for hand washing in a unit where medicines for cancer patients were prepared, HSJ has learned.

Face mask

Trusts told not to stockpile amid coronavirus supply fears

The Department of Health and Social Care has told trusts not to stockpile products, amid growing concern over the impact of novel coronavirus on medical supplies.

Moorfields Eye Hospital

Trust in £2m legal battle with pharma company

A specialist trust is being sued for nearly £2m by a Luxembourgian pharmaceutical company over allegations of wrongdoing by the provider’s subsidiary company, HSJ can reveal.

Jeremy Hunt

Hunt tells Hancock to ‘use his magic’ to secure high cost drug approval

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has urged his successor to find a way to ensure patients can access a high cost drug which is subject to a legal challenge against the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.


Up to 100,000 on antipsychotics with no review

A national strategy is needed to tackle health risks linked to antipsychotic drugs because current policy is letting tens of thousands of people fall through the gaps, commissioners in London are warning.

Ipad/tablet computer with image of pills on

NHS use of e-prescribing can be a ‘risk to patient safety’

Poorly-implemented electronic prescribing systems in NHS hospitals are putting patients’ lives at risk, the NHS’s safety watchdog has warned.

Parliament, policy, politician, government

NHS England finally strikes deal for high value drug

A deal has been struck to make a life-extending cystic fibrosis drug available on the NHS for the first time.

Brexit bus

New Brexit plan worse for NHS than May’s deal, experts warn

The NHS will be exposed to more risk by the government’s latest Brexit deal than by Theresa May’s original agreement, health service experts and lobby groups have told HSJ.


Ministers confirm ban on some drug exports ahead of Brexit deadline

Ministers have confirmed plans for a ban on the export of certain medicines, starting with a group of 24 drugs including 19 hormone replacement therapy treatments, ahead of the no-deal Brexit deadline at the end of this month.

Jeremy Corbyn

Corbyn vows to create state-run drug company and seize patent rights

Jeremy Corbyn says a Labour government would create a state-run pharmaceutical company to make generic versions of drugs the NHS cannot afford.

Brexit puzzle

Exclusive: NHS chiefs want latest no-deal plans from government

NHS chiefs have urged ministers to publish their up-to-date plans for a no-deal Brexit, in the wake of the release of Project Yellowhammer documents.


Fears no-deal Brexit’s drugs stockpile could be sold off

Fresh concerns have been raised that drugs stockpiled for a no-deal Brexit could be sold off before the 31 October deadline unless ministers intervene.

Hospital corridor with gurneys-157533457

NHS faces legal action from ‘abandoned’ IV feed patients

The NHS and the national medical regulator could face legal action over the shortage of intravenous feed supplies for hundreds of UK patients, HSJ has learned.

Sir Andrew Dillon

Andrew Dillon to end his 20 year reign at NICE

Sir Andrew Dillon will step down as the chief executive of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in March 2020 after more than 20 years in the role.


‘Smart’ pump overdoses spark national safety probe

A national safety investigation has been launched into the NHS’ use of so-called ‘smart pumps’ after three patients received an overdose of the powerful opioid fentanyl.

June Raine

Regulator announces interim CEO

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has appointed an interim chief executive.

Hospital corridor with gurneys-157533457

‘Reprehensible’ action by regulator sparks call for inquiry

Senior clinicians have called for a review into how hundreds of patients have been left without intravenous food after action by the medical regulator severly curtailed its supply.

Hospital corridor with gurneys-157533457

Dozens of patients admitted in feed supply emergency

Dozens of patients including children have now been admitted to hospital because of the national shortage of intravenous food supplies for patients who cannot eat normal food, HSJ has learned.

IV drip

Exclusive: NHSE declares emergency over IV shortage

The shortage of intravenous feed supplies affecting hundreds of patients across the country has been declared a national emergency incident by NHS leaders.

IV drip

Regulator accused of presiding over 'utter shambles' says it was 'duty bound' to act on IV supplies

A regulator has defended its actions which caused delays to the supply of life-saving intravenous feed for hundreds of patients with HSJ learning some are now being admitted to hospital.


Key caesarean drug unavailable for two weeks

A drug used in most caesarean sections in the UK is expected to be unavailable for the next two weeks, prompting concerns some trusts may run out of supplies.

stevens simon i

Stevens: Government must re-boot ‘no-deal’ Brexit plan ‘within weeks’

Ministers must act “very, very soon” to re-boot contingency plans for a no deal Brexit if the NHS and suppliers are to be ready for the UK to crash out of the EU on 31 October, NHS England’s chief executive has warned.

Nicola blackwood 3x2

Minister announces new national innovation 'unit'

A new national “unit” is being established, with its own “chief executive”, to oversee innovation and medicines, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced.

Contract 3x2

Legal action firm among winners for largest medicines procurement

Three pharmaceutical companies – including one which took NHS England to court over the design of a billion-pound tender – have been awarded contracts to supply drugs as part of a bid to eradicate hepatitis C by 2025.


CCGs could face fresh pressures to fund costly drug

Clinical commissioning groups could face renewed pressure to fund an expensive thyroid drug under NHS England revised guidance, due to be published shortly.

IV drip with money inside

Regulator criticised for 'unbelievably arrogant' approval process

Patient groups have called NHS England “unbelievably arrogant” for failing to listen to patients during drug funding reviews.


DHSC sets up hotline for Brexit disruption to supplies

NHS suppliers have been told to contact a new 24/7 call centre run by the Department of Health and Social Care if they experience disruption to their deliveries following a no-deal Brexit.

Truvada prep hiv

Councils seek NHS funding to cover drug trial pressures

Councils in London are seeking additional funding from NHS England to help deal with cost pressures arising from trials for an HIV drug.


CCGs under strain again from generic drug prices

The number of generic drugs being sold above national tariff rose to its highest rate in over two years at the start of 2019, despite national efforts to cut this number.

Steve Field

Steve Field: Digital GPs overseas remain a danger

Regulators and policymakers are at a loss for how to stop people accessing dangerous medicines using online services overseas, the outgoing chief inspector of GPs has said.