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April 13 2018 A crack-down on the diversion of Prescription Only Medicines onto the black market...

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a pale yellow pills imageApril 13 2018

A crack-down on the diversion of Prescription Only Medicines onto the black market has seen illicit diazepam supply drop by more than 60%.

Annual figures issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency indicate that illicit trading is down:

  • 64% for diazepam 10mg;
  • 24% for nitrazepam;
  • 20% for top-strength temazepam;
  • 14%. for zolpidem.

The MHRA data follows analysis of bulk orders of diverted medicines between January – May 2017 compared to January – May 2016. Its ongoing action is part of a programme to tackle diversion of legitimate POMs onto the criminal market, estimated to be worth £200 million. The MHRA’s enforcement team has 17 active investigations running, and 44 arrests have been made.

Multi-agency data published for drug misuse across the UK indicates that there was a substantial increase in the number of deaths registered in Scotland in 2016 that involved a benzodiazepine, rising from 191 deaths in 2015 to 426 in 2016. Benzodiazepines were associated with 406 deaths (16% of drug misuse deaths) registered in England and Wales in 2016.

The publication, ‘United Kingdom drug situation: Focal Point annual report 2017’, says:

  • there were 119,973 treatment presentations for drug misuse in the UK in 2016;
  • in England and Wales, there were 244,971 individuals recorded as being in drug treatment during 2016;
  • of all those in treatment in England and Wales, 138,422 were receiving prescribing treatment for opioid use.

Data relating to needle and syringe programmes (NSPs) includes:

  • in Scotland, there were 287 injection equipment provider outlets reporting to be operating in 2015-16, of which 219 (76%) were pharmacy-based;
  • 4.7 million needles/syringes were reported to have been distributed to people who inject drugs (PWID) in Scotland in 2015-16;
  • in Wales, 215 community pharmacies were providing NSP services;
  • 18,530 unique individuals accessed community pharmacy NSP services in Wales from April 2016 to March 2017;
  • 57% (n=1,770,451) of syringes were distributed through pharmacy-based NSP in Wales;
  • in Northern Ireland, NSP were available at 19 pharmacies which issued 35,573 packs.

Links:
MHRA announcement
‘United Kingdom drug situation: Focal Point annual report 2017’

Practice News

April 20 2018 Doctors have not been prevented from prescribing over-the counter medicines, but should use proper clinical judgement, a health minister has said.
April 20 2018 Doctors have not been prevented from prescribing over-the counter medicines, but should use proper clinical judgement, a health minister has said. A question was raised following last...