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Government publishes no-deal Brexit guidance, health secretary tells pharma companies to stockpile medicines

Published on 24/08/18 at 09:15am

The British Government has published a document offering guidance as to what should be expected in the case of a no-deal Brexit.  

The document notes that “If there’s no deal, the UK’s participation in the European regulatory network would cease”. Equally the UK would immediately leave the EU in March 2019 without a transition period. In crashing out of the European Union the UK’s pharmaceutical industry would likely experience significant disruption.

In response to the guidance the Government’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said in an open letter that pharma companies should begin to stockpile medicines. The Conservative MP suggested that companies should ensure that they “have an additional six weeks’ supply of medicines in the UK on top of their own normal stock levels.”

However, he also noted that “Hospitals, GPs and community pharmacies throughout the UK do not need to take any steps to stockpile additional medicines, beyond their business as usual stock levels”.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) responded to the guidance, commenting: “We need to be clear that a ‘no deal’ scenario is not in the interest of patients. Both sides must rapidly agree the terms of the UK’s withdrawal and a future relationship based on cooperation to protect public health, control infectious diseases and manage medicine safety.”

Similarly, the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA) said: “We all want an agreement between the UK and the EU27 on a future relationship which protects the benefits for patients of the European single market in medicines and regulatory framework which allows our complex cross-border supply chains to continue to function effectively.”

Louis Goss

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