The House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has written to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, seeking clarity on the Government’s contingency preparations to ensure the UK has continued access to medicines and medical products in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The letter follows an evidence session the Committee held with witnesses from Nuffield Trust and the British Association of European Pharmaceutical Distributors, and evidence given by officials from Department of Health and Social Care during a private briefing.
The Committee says the evidence received suggests there is still concern that a no-deal Brexit may limit the availability of medicines and medical products in the UK and that there has been little sign to date of potential delays on the border being addressed.
An estimated 45 per cent of medicines in the UK are imported from the EU. The pharmaceutical industry has been asked by Government to stockpile six weeks’ worth of medical products as a “planning assumption for how long we will need stockpiles of medicines before we are able to resume supplies either because the blockages at the border are relieved or there are other routes in place”.
The Committee has requested assurances from the Government that contingency measures can be sustained beyond the first six weeks after Brexit, should this be required and has sought details on the Government’s plans to secure and prioritise airborne routes for medicines.
The Committee is also seeking clarification on plans to encourage drug companies to prioritise introducing new products to market in the UK.