Changes to legislation allowing for wider use of ‘hub-and-spoke’ dispensing are likely to move forward, a leading pharmacy lawyer has said.
Noel Wardle, partner at Charles Russell Speechlys law firm and a specialist in pharmacy regulation, predicted that there would be a new consultation on the dispensing model in a talk at the law firm’s annual Pharmacy Law Conference in London on 28 March 2019.
Wardle told delegates that the current hub-and-spoke dispensing legislation states that the model can only be used “when a single company owns both a hub and spoke”.
“It doesn’t work cross-company, so wholesalers can’t do it for their customers, for example, and groups can’t club together and do it,” he said.
The government previously consulted on allowing the model to operate across different entities in 2016. But the proposals raised several questions, including whether the model was safe and how the system would be affected by the Falsified Medicines Directive.
As a result, the government shelved plans in June 2016 to implement the model.
Then, in January 2018, NHS England said it was considering revisiting the hub-and-spoke dispensing model as part of the ‘NHS Long Term Plan’.
Wardle told the conference: “I suspect [hub-and-spoke dispensing] will come back and I suspect it won’t be knocked back again this time. So watch out for a new consultation on hub-and-spoke.”