With Brexit’s deadline being a few months away, the issue how leaving the EU could affect the UK’s access to necessary medicine and medical equipment from many a medical logistics company is being raised.
Recently, the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee sent a letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, which asked for clarification on the country’s contingency for medicinal and medical access post-Brexit.
This letter followed and evidence session the Committee held with representatives from Nuffield Trust, British Association of European Pharmaceutical Distributors, with some additional evidence submitted by officials from the DHSC during a private briefing. The session had common concerns over the logistics of ensuring the UK’s access to medicine and medical equipment from many a medical logistics company should a no-deal Brexitcome to pass. The government believes that should those events transpire, the effects could be detrimental to the country’s medical supply chain.
Currently, the government advises that the industry stockpile at least six weeks’ worth of medicine and medical products. However, the problem lies with medicines and medical products with short shelf lives, which would need to be flown into the country in order to meet demand.
The letter also asked for clarity on issues that would surround access to medical supplies after March 2019, asking, among other things, whether the contingency plan would remove the risk of disruption and whether or not the additional costs of flying in supplies and the costs of the necessary additional storage have been taken into account.
According to the estimations of the Healthcare Distribution Association, 45% of all of the medicine in the UK is imported from the EU, meaning that disruption would not only have a notable impact on both sides, and that means that bringing the current contingency plan into reality could be difficult.
There are several other issues that have been brought up over the state of medical logistics in the UK following Brexit, like avoiding delays, shortages and the like. Another key issue being noted is how Brexit would affect the country’s involvement in the latest medical research and access to the latest medical processes and methods.