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Coronavirus pandemic puts UK’s post-Brexit drug stockpile at risk

Published on 08/06/20 at 10:24am
Photo from Pixarbay

The pharmaceutical industry has warned the UK government that certain stockpiles of medicine have been used up due to the pandemic, according to the BBC.

According to a memo prepared for the government in May, companies in the industry warned that after the pandemic ends there will be near zero amount of product available in the market to allow for stockpiling a broad range of drugs compared to 2019, when there was the availability for a Brexit stockpile.

The pandemic has led to a massive increase in demand for various medicines that had been stockpiled as well as medicial equipment like inhalers. This has been further hurt by the lockdown measures shutting down factories around the world that are vital to the drug supply line.

According to the BBC, the memo also stated: “Preparations for the end of the transition period must complement plans to secure the supply of coronavirus therapeutic and supportive products. We would warn against any drastic policies mandating wholesale changes to global supply chains, as this could fundamentally disrupt the supply of medicines for the NHS and patients in other countries.”

The pharmaceutical industry has been anticipating complications to Britain’s access to drugs for years, as they anticipated a no-deal Brexit. Most Brexit scenarios were predicted to cause more congestion to the trade route between the ports of Dover and Calais, where 90% of imported drugs and medicines come from the EU.

Dr Richard Torbett, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry’s (ABPI) Chief Executive, said: “With this pressure likely to continue over the coming months, the pandemic has reinforced why it is essential that the UK and EU reach a deal on their future relationship. But not everything is in the gift of industry. Stockpiling is one element - having alternative supply routes and making sure that goods can continue to flow uninterrupted across borders is also critical.”

Conor Kavanagh

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