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Ireland will not suffer immediate medicine shortages in event of no-deal Brexit, says health authority

Published on 05/09/19 at 10:49am

Though MPs are moving forward with their plan to block UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s supposed no-deal Brexit from the EU and the economic and medical harm that would cause, it has become known that Ireland will not succumb to the same medicine access issues that threaten too affect England.

Responding to Michael Gove, the Government’s Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who has taken charge of planning for a no-deal exit, health officials said that two years of planning now mean that such an exit would not have an immediate impact on supply levels.

Gove had asserted that any shortages of medicines arising in England as a result of Brexit would also affect Ireland as two-thirds of the latter’s supplies first come through Britain. This assertion was denied by the Department of Health.

"Significant work has been undertaken by the Department of Health, the HSE and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), together with the pharmaceutical industry, to anticipate – in so far as is possible - potential vulnerabilities in medicine supplies after Brexit, and to devise contingencies in order to minimise any risks to continuity of supply," a spokesperson said.

Both wholesalers and the pharmaceutical industry said “they are confident they will have sufficient stocks to bridge any initial issues at ports, should they occur.”

Not all medicines will escape the effects of Brexit, but these are likely to be less serious therapies with minimal health consequences if treatment is disrupted.

"Any products that may be affected would be unlikely to be critical to continuity of care as there are and will be alternative suppliers or therapeutic alternatives available," a HPRA spokesman said. “We are in ongoing contact with companies across the pharmaceutical industry to once again highlight regulatory and supply matters linked to Brexit, to obtain additional assurances in respect of their contingency planning and to identify any potential issues."

Matt Fellows

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