16 weeks of insulin stockpiled in Brexit contingency plans

Benedict Jephcote
Wed, 11 Sep 2019
16 weeks of insulin stockpiled in Brexit contingency plans
People with diabetes that rely on insulin are being reassured that contingency plans are in place, should a no-deal Brexit go ahead.

Diabetes UK report that all three main insulin manufacturers – Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi – have confirmed they are keeping additional supplies.

The charity confirms all three pharmaceutical firms have gone "beyond the recommendations made by the government" and are stockpiling at least 16 weeks' worth of insulin.

At the moment the UK Government intends to leave the European Union on October 31. The terms under which it leaves are yet to be agreed.

There has been concern among people who rely on medication that they may struggle to obtain their medication if a trade deal is not secured. The government has said that importing goods will be prioritised to ensure people get access to the drugs they need.

Other efforts being put in place include the Department for Transport looking to re-route supply chains away from the Channel short straits and setting up a 'Dedicated Health Channel'. This will ensure vital medicines can come into the UK within 24 to 72 hours via an express freight service.

Health ministers are aware of potential problems and are attending regular EU Exit Operations committee meetings in which operational issues are continually discussed in preparation for the UK leaving the EU.

Plans vary slightly across the UK. The Scottish Government has created an NHS Scotland Medicines Shortages Response Group to ensure that UK-wide plans are carried out effectively in the country.

In Wales, Diabetes UK Cymru has been in talks with the Welsh NHS Policy Confederation to raise issues with the Welsh Government about medication and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland has guidance from GPs, pharmacists, ophthalmologists and other healthcare professionals online.

Access to healthcare across other EU countries would change if European Health Insurance Cards are no longer valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Anyone travelling would need appropriate travel insurance to be covered for medical treatment abroad.
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