A no-deal exit from the European Union could have implications for people with diabetes as the NHS and Government make statements about their plans to avoid disruption to medical supplies.
As previously reported, with uncertainty surrounding whether an agreeable trade deal will be met before the UK leaves the European Union (EU) in March, pharmaceutical companies had been urged to stock up on medical supplies over Brexit deal uncertainty.
The NHS issued the following advice: “The government is working closely with the NHS and suppliers to make sure medicines and medical products continue to be available in all scenarios.
“Please keep ordering your repeat prescriptions and taking your medicines as normal.
“The NHS, through your local doctor's surgery and pharmacy, will keep you informed if there are any changes.
“It's very important you don't order more medicines than normal. If you do, then it may mean that other people won't be able to get their medicines.
“The government has asked suppliers of medical goods to build up at least 6 weeks' worth of extra stocks above usual level.
“It has also bought extra ferry capacity so medicines and medical products will be prioritised for import for you to continue to receive your medicines on time.
“Occasionally, the NHS does experience temporary shortages of some medicines.
“If this happens, you will be prescribed the best alternative to your usual medicine, as happens normally.
“Over two-and-a-half million prescription items are dispensed in primary care alone in England every day, and the NHS has existing ways of making sure that you get your medicines and medical products, even under difficult circumstances.
“If you are concerned, please speak to your doctor or pharmacist.”
The Government has announced details of preparations being made to minimise disruption of the supply of medicines and medical products in the event of a no-deal exit from the European Union.
A statement from the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s top priority and would give businesses the stability and certainty to prepare for our new relationship after EU Exit. However, the government must plan for every possible outcome, including no deal.”
The Department of Health and Social Care added that they are working closely with trade bodies, product suppliers, the health and care system in England, the devolved administrations and crown dependencies (the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey) to make detailed plans to ensure the continued supply of medical products to the UK in the event of a no-deal EU Exit.
The Department of Health and Social Care added: “Around three-quarters of the medicines and over half of the clinical consumables we use come from or via the EU. The main risk to supply is reduced traffic flow between the ports of Calais and Dover or Folkestone.
“A combination of securing freight, buffer stocks, stockpiling and warehousing, and regulatory flexibility will be required to ensure the continuation of medical supplies.
“By securing additional freight capacity to ensure a continued flow of products, stockpiling and providing warehouse storage capacity as a further contingency, and removing regulatory barriers, medicines and medical products should continue to be available for the NHS, other healthcare providers and the public in the event of a no-deal EU exit.
“While we never give guarantees, we are confident that, if everyone – including suppliers, freight companies, our international partners, and the health and care system – does what they need to do, the supply of medicines and medical products should be uninterrupted in the event of exiting the EU without a deal.”
In response to no-deal Brexit contingency plans for medicines supply announced by the Department of Health and Social Care, Aisling Burnand MBE, Chief Executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities (of which DRWF is a member), said: “We are relieved that at last further details on medicines supply in the event of a no-deal Brexit have been published.
“This will go some way to reassure those worried about continued access to the drugs and treatments they so desperately need that robust plans are in place should the UK leave the EU without a deal. Medicines and medical supplies are to be prioritised in planned extra shipping capacity between the EU and UK putting patients in the place of priority they deserve to hold. Industry stockpiling will provide a second layer of risk mitigation.
“We are reassured that patients receiving experimental treatments as part of innovative clinical trials can now be more certain that the trials will continue. We are told that products for these trials will be prioritised in shipping and that government have been working with UK clinical trials sponsors to map and minimise the potential impact.
“But, even with these plans in place, government should be under no illusions of the consequences for patients if we leave the EU without a deal. No one should have their health put at risk because of the UK’s decision to leave the EU; this must be the case from day one of the new relationship.
“We recognise the enormous effort that has gone into making these plans as robust as possible, but we continue to hope that they do not need to be rolled out. Patients deserve better than a no-deal Brexit.”