The UK’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock sent letters Friday on Brexit preparations for medicines supplies, offering details that the pharmaceutical industry group said need to be fleshed out further in the lead up to March 2019.
In the event of a no deal scenario, the revised cross-Government planning assumptions show that there will be significantly reduced access across the short straits crossings into Dover and Folkestone for up to six months.
Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association for British Pharmaceutical Industries (ABPI) said: “Today’s update on potential border delays for six months in a no deal scenario is stark. Stockpiling more medicines is not the solution to this problem…The Government should to take immediate action to open up alternative supply routes between the UK and Europe and tell companies so that they can make plans.”
The letters also note that while the six-week stockpiling activities “remain a critical part of our contingency plans, this now needs to be supplemented with additional actions.
“The Government recognises the vital importance of medicines and medical products and is working to ensure that there is sufficient roll-on, roll-off freight capacity to enable these vital products to continue to move freely in to the UK. The Government has also agreed that medicines and medical products will be prioritised on these alternative routes to ensure that the flow of all these products will continue unimpeded after 29 March 2019.”
But ABPI said there needs to be more information from the governement. "We welcome the Secretary of State’s intention to prioritise the flow of medicines and vaccines. But with just 16 weeks until the UK leaves the EU, we need the detail,” Thompson said.
The UK BioIndustry Association similarly noted that the government letter "makes no specific additional request on companies, but provides very limited information on what additional actions the government is planning beyond working to ensure that there is sufficient roll-on, roll-off freight capacity and that medicines and medical products will be prioritised on alternative routes.
“A ‘no deal’ Brexit would mean the biggest dis-integration of the complex regulated medicines market across Europe in terms of regulation, cross border movement of goods, comparative pricing and intellectual property," the bio group said.
The UK letter also noted that most of what happens should a no-deal scenario occur is in the European Commission’s corner.
“The European Commission has made it clear that, in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario, it will impose full third country controls on people and goods entering the EU from the UK. Whether this happens or not is in their hands, not ours,” the letter said.
Medicines supply: no-deal Brexit preparation plans update