Medicine supply to patients in jeopardy from no-deal Brexit, HDA warns

Brexit draft agreement – pharma industry reacts
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A ‘no-deal Brexit’ could lead to medicine shortages and price rises, the Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK) has warned.

The HDA is lobbying for a Brexit deal that ensures the reciprocal recognition of existing EU medicines regulations to guarantee that patients will not suffer the consequences of not being able to access their medicines.

Nearly 50% of the medicines in a typical HDA member company’s warehouse will have been through an EU country before reaching the UK.

If crossing borders is not made easy for medicines, then HDA is concerned about the impact on patients requiring critical treatments.

HDA said its “very supportive” of the government’s plans to stockpile medicines, but in a ‘no deal’ scenario, it is the management of the medicines that are already in the UK, that will become crucial.

This is where, the HDA said, that the Government and the NHS should step in. The medicines supply chain is a very successful and responsive delivery mechanism, but a ‘no deal Brexit’ would be new territory altogether.

Martin Sawer, HDA’s Executive Director, said: “The potential impact of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ will not just be felt from day one of the UK leaving the European Union, but in the run-up to the UK leaving, if it becomes clearer that a ‘no-deal Brexit’ is the most likely outcome.

“Equally, it is unclear how long such effects will continue after Brexit as it will take time for the supply chain to address shortages by sourcing additional stock.”