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Novartis warns of huge impact of no-deal Brexit

Published on 28/01/19 at 11:24am

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis has called on the British government to ‘ensure continuity of supply’ in the case of a ‘disorderly’ no-deal Brexit.

“It is vital that Government makes minimising disruption to the medicines supply the highest priority as it prepares for a potential hard or disorderly Brexit and ensures cooperation over medicines regulation in this event,” the company said.

“Given the complex nature of the supply chain, Government needs to implement a comprehensive continuity plan rapidly that includes relevant departments beyond the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS, to ensure medicines can reach patients in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This includes clarity over customs arrangements, both to and from Europe, and to minimise disruption at our borders. It is also imperative that NHS trusts and pharmacists adhere to the Government’s advice not to stockpile medicines so supply can be managed centrally, minimising the risk of medicine shortages across the UK.”

The warning comes after Theresa May’s deal failed to get through parliament. “Following Parliament’s vote, the risk of UK exiting the EU without a deal is increased and this will be hugely impactful for patients, particularly around the supply and safety of medicines,” Novartis said.

The firm warned that divergence from regulatory alignment between the UK and the EU would have far reaching implications as the company suggested that it “is continuing to execute contingency plans and make all preparations possible to ensure continuity of supply to UK patients of the over 120 million packs of medicines we import to the UK from Europe each year.”

Louis Goss

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