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11 April 2007

Community Pharmacies Start To Feel First Effects Of Pfizer Decision

SERVICE TO PATIENTS MUST BE PARAMOUNT – STEVENSON

Commenting on the news that a Banff man had an urgent hospital appointment cancelled because UniChem – who are now the sole suppliers of Pfizer drugs to community pharmacies – could not deliver a drug at the requested time, SNP candidate for Banff & Buchan Stewart Stevenson has called for the needs of patients to be paramount.

Mr Stevenson has strongly criticised Pfizer after being contacted by worried pharmacists in his constituency who say that the plans will put at risk the security of supply of patient medicines in the North of Scotland and force them to deal with a wholesale firm which has no distribution depots north of Livingston.

The SNP candidate has visited community pharmacies in Cruden Bay and New Deer in recent weeks hearing their concerns at first hand.

Speaking from the campaign trail in Gardenstown, Stewart Stevenson said:

"This is exactly the sort of problem that pharmacists flagged up with me and which Pfizer were told repeatedly would be an inevitable consequence of their new distribution system.

"I am absolutely appalled that the consequences of this are that at least one person has had their hospital appointment cancelled because the required medication for them to take at home in advance of their hospital visit could not be delivered in time.

"It completely vindicates the concerns of all the local pharmacists I have spoken to and makes it even more important that the OFT investigate. I know that the Health Minister has expressed similar concerns after I raised the issue with him last month and that he, too, has written to Pfizer."

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