The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has reissued its communication relating to Brexit and medicines supplies.
In tandem with the NHS, trade associations, wholesalers, pharmaceutical companies, suppliers of medical devices and many others, contingency measures are in place to enable medicines continue to be available. This includes:
- Improving trader readiness for new border arrangements
- Building up buffer stocks of prescription-only and pharmacy medicines. These stocks will continue to be replenished as used
- Procuring extra warehouse space for stockpiled medicines
- Securing additional ferry capacity capacity for all medicines, not just those included in the stockpiling. This will be done in two ways:
a. buying extra space on ferries – the Department for Transport, acting on behalf of government, has started a procurement exercise for a framework to provide suppliers, including those of medicines and medical products, with the opportunity to use freight capacity on routes away from the ports where delays are more likely to occur.
b. procuring an ‘Express Freight Service’ – access to freight services that are able to deliver small consignments on a 24-hour basis and a two-to-four-day pallet delivery service
- Changing or clarifying regulatory requirements. The government is also making sure that medicines, devices and clinical trials licensed or tested in the EU can continue to be used in the UK by amending regulations to suppliers to ensure that medicines, devices and clinical trials licensed or tested in the EU can continue to be recognised in the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU Exit
- Strengthening the processes and resources used to deal with medicines shortages.
This approach is similar to the measures that were put in place before 29 March 2019 and remains essential to help ensure the continuity of medicines and medical supplies in the event of the UK exiting the EU without a deal.
Local stockpiling and prescribing over and above usual quantities ahead of 31 October is unnecessary and could cause shortages in other areas. It is also important that patients keep taking their medicines and order their repeat prescriptions as normal.
View the letter from DHSC chief commercial officer Steve Oldfield.