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Industry leaders warn public may have to stockpile medicines in case of no-deal Brexit

Published on 24/10/18 at 11:06am

Martin Sawer, the executive director of the Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA) – formerly the British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW) – has told MPs that a no-deal Brexit would have a ‘catastrophic’ effect on the supply of medicines coming into the UK, as he suggested that members of the public may have to personally stockpile drugs.

“We need politicians to understand there could be consequences. We are not suggesting anybody needs to stockpile outside of the supply chain yet. But come January that might be a different picture. We are, we believe, going to be in a difficult situation if there is not a deal by Christmas,” Sawer said to the House of Commons’ Health and Social Care Select Committee.

Meanwhile, Mike Thompson Chief Executive of the ABPI suggested that, “Stockpiling [by industry] won't be enough.” The industry association chief further noted that the UK lacked the cold chain storage capacity necessary for the stockpiling of drugs in the event of a hard exit from the EU, as he revealed a “request into government to support the building of additional cold chain supply.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock responded to industry concerns: “We have issued today an invitation to tender for additional storage capacity. We are looking for additional storage that is ready for the Brexit demand, or space that can be converted to medical storage, or for new facilities. We are confident that can be delivered by March next year.”

Louis Goss

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