The House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has written to Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (DHSC), asking for clarity on the government’s contingency preparations to ensure the UK has continued access to medicines and medical products in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
There is still concern that a no deal Brexit may limit the availability of medicines in the UK and that there was little sign to date of potential delays on the border being addressed.
Despite pharmaceutical companies “doing everything in their power” to minimise disruption to the supply of medicines should the UK leave the EU under a ‘no-deal’ scenario, MPs have been told a deal is urgently needed to fully protect patients.
The Minister has been asked to clarify issues such as: “How confident are you that the contingency measures deployed as an immediate response to secure the supply of medicines and medical products can be sustained beyond the first six weeks after Brexit, should this be required?” and “What plans has the Government made to secure and prioritise airborne routes for medical products?”
The Government’s current guidance is to stockpile six weeks’ worth of medicines and medical products in the event of blockages at borders, however medicines with short shelf lives cannot be stockpiled and would have to be flown in.
Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), recently reminded a commons select committee that there are medicines “which simply can’t be stockpiled due to temperature control, short shelf life or inability to travel,” stressing “that is why we urgently need a deal.”