How will a no-deal Brexit impact medicines in the UK?
The 2-year mark since Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement that the UK would in fact be leaving the European Union (EU) is fast approaching, and a deal is nowhere in sight. Stories about stockpiling food and medicines, as well as the need for duplicate testing of drugs and the potential for patients not to have access to their medications in the event of a no-deal Brexit, have been plentiful.
Theresa May and other officials have insisted that government measures to stockpile medications, for example, are simply precautionary and that ‘delivering the deal negotiated with the EU remains the government's top priority’ (Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), 2019). However, after the recent parliamentary vote not to accept May's Brexit deal, the reality of a ‘hard Brexit’ is looking increasingly likely.
According to the Minister of State for Health and Social Care, Stephen Hammond, the storage for medicine stockpiles in the event that the UK withdraws from the EU on 29 March 2019 without an agreement in place will cost tens of millions of pounds, an estimated £1 million of which will go to refrigerated storage alone (Wickware, 2019). In October of 2018, the lack of appropriate cold-chain storage was reported, and the contract put out to tender that month is now scheduled to begin in February 2019.
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