The House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has written a strongly-worded letter to the government regarding plans to stockpile vaccines and other products in advance of the UK’s departure from Europe. Such is the committee’s concern that it has given the Secretary of State 10 days to respond.
The committee had initially written to the Secretary of State following an evidence session on no-deal preparations for medicine provision in November of last year, asking for clarity and further detail. The committee says the Minister’s response has not alleviated all of the members' concerns.
In particular, the Minister failed in his response to state what action is being taken to address the uncertainty that data from clinical trials conducted in the UK will be accepted by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The members say the Minister’s response referred to information published months ago.
Lord Jay of Ewelme, Chairman of the committee, has now written to Mr Matt Hanock seeking details on a number of issues including stockpiling essential medicines, organ exchange, and involvement in European clinical trials.
The correspondence also asks, again, for Mr Hancock to provide the estimated cost of flying in medical products for a six-week period, should the need arise. The Chairman says “withholding such figures prevents the committee from fulfilling its democratic obligation to scrutinise the Government”.
The Committee does not consider an estimate of this figure to have adverse commercial implications, as the Government has stated, he says.
"Given that we are now just nine weeks away from leaving the EU with the increasing possibility of doing so without a deal, and noting the delayed response to our previous letter, we expect a response within 10 working days," the letter concludes.