New drugs licence makes big impact

Stephen Chadwick surgery (Chadwick)

UK-Med’s new pharmacy licence signals an increase in capacity to deliver more international emergency responses

In May 2020 UK-Med became one of the few NGOs in the UK, licensed to procure, store, export and supply medicines to patients overseas – enabling a faster response to more medical emergencies where-ever they may be.

In addition to our existing partnership with Palladium procuring, UK-Med storing and DFID exporting and supplying medicines to our UK-EMT programmes – our newly granted Wholesale Distribution Authorisation (WDA) licence will allow us to manage the entire medical product supply chain in house on smaller UK-Med emergency responses.  This is an important step forward in our journey to becoming an independent and more self-sufficient medical emergency relief NGO.

UK-Med’s Pharmacist Claire Simpson says: ‘This drastically changes what we can do. Previously we’ve responded to medical emergencies by contributing specialist personnel – as seen with our input to the EMT measles outbreak response in Samoa in 2019 in partnership with the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT); and the 2020 EMT COVID-19 response in the Rohingya Refugee Camps in Bangladesh with the International Office of Migration (IOM).  However, this extended WDA licence means UK-Med could in theory respond in full to any upcoming medical emergency with a field hospital, personnel and now medicines.’

Arriving at this position however, has been no mean feat and it’s testament to the nine months of hard work and commitment from our pharmacy and logistics teams: Pharmacist Claire Simpson, Logistics Manager Richard Dear, Warehouse Manager Rob Dick and new recruits Warehouse Assistant Tom Los and Procurement and Supply Chain Lead Gabbi Gray; and John Finey at Pharmacy Consulting LTD.

Claire says: ‘Many hours have been spent filling out standard operating procedures, justifying why we need to procure certain unlicensed drugs in this country and installing air-conditioning, temperature data logging systems and giant refrigerator containers into our north west based warehouse so we can safely store the drugs once bought.  There’s a real art to storing medicine – but that’s another story.’  All this work in readiness for the inspections (which were successful) from the Home Office in January 2020 and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in March of this year.   Once again, this is a fine example of a great team effort.  Well done team!

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