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Availability of medication following Brexit

Concerns have been raised regarding the potential impact Brexit could have on the supply and availability of medication, particularly insulin.

People with insulin-dependent diabetes may have to contend with supply issues if long-term trade agreements are not prioritised following Brexit, according to one national commentator.

James Moore has raised concerns over the supply of medical products during this period of uncertainty, in a recent article for the independent.co.uk.

His concerns were prompted by the recent supply-chain problems with the FreeStyle Libre sensors. Pharmacy teams and people who self-fund their FreeStyle Libre have both reported being unable to obtain the sensors needed for the device.

Although the ongoing supply issues of FreeStyle Libre sensors are not associated with Brexit, Moore suggested these shortages could be replicated in other medical supplies if Prime Minister Boris Johnson does not manage to put in place trade agreements.

He said: “Given the importance of their products, those operating in the healthcare sector have a responsibility to do better. Abbott take note. In the meantime, there’s a sting in the tail of this story. Consider, if you will, the consequences of multiple failures of supply like this.”

Similar concerns have been echoed in The State of Pharmacy report, which outlines responses from an annual survey of pharmacies and the challenges they face.

According to recent survey results. Almost 87% of pharmacists were concerned about the supply of medicines after Brexit and 42% have considered stockpiling drugs in preparation, according to the recent survey results.

However, healthcare bodies continue to alleviate any uncertainty regarding future access to medication. The NHS advises that the public continue to order, and use, any medical devices or medication as normal. If you do have any concerns, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

The public is assured that measures are in place to ensure the NHS has access to the clinical and non-clinical supplies it needs to continue operating in the UK.

The UK left the EU on January 31 but will remain in the single market until the end of 2020. During this transition period current EU regulations on medicine will continue to apply to the UK, with the continuation of the single market allowing for free movement of goods, people, services and capital over borders.

Previous uncertainty was linked to the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, with reports of up to 16 weeks of insulin being stockpiled in the event of border delays.
However, the departure on Friday and the withdrawal agreement in place gives politicians time to negotiate a new, long-term trade deal. The transition period and trade negotiations are expected to continue until December 2020.

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