Government talks to drug companies about Brexit stockpiling

Government talks to drug companies about Brexit stockpiling

Friday, September 7, 2018

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that UK patients access to medicines would be “unhindered” by a no-deal Brexit, as there are plans to stockpile drugs and fly in supplies of treatments with short shelf lives.

The Health and Social Care Secretary said he was “confident” that supplies would continue and he was working with the pharmaceutical industry to cover the extra costs that the emergency measures could bring.

The failure to reach agreement on medical regulation with the European Union could cause disruption to supply chains.

He told BBC’s Radio 4 Today on Thursday that he was “increasingly confident” that deal would be agreed.

He added: "It is important, as a responsible Government, to make sure we prepare for all eventualities and therefore we have got to be ready for exiting without a deal.

"Therefore we have proposed that there is stockpiling of medicines by the pharmaceutical companies, not by the NHS."


‘From land to air’

He added that the existing contracts to supply drugs to hospitals need to be fulfilled.

"The task is for the pharmaceutical companies to ensure that enough supplies are available to ensure that can happen.

That could mean "being prepared if necessary to switch the supply from land to air so that we can fly in, for instance, very short shelf life medicines".

He added: "We are talking to the pharmaceutical industry about what extra costs the Government should cover."

Mr Hancock also sought to address concerns about recruitment as a result of the uncertainty over the post-Brexit immigration status of EU nationals.

"It's very important that we can both train up people at home and also that the brightest and best people from around the world who want to come and work in the NHS, in the social care system and across our economy can do so.

"In the case of doctors and nurses, we have recently actually removed the cap on recruiting globally.

"So you have got to look at this in the global context, not just the European context."