The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has released a document with guidance for the pharmaceutical industry in the case of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
3 of the key points from the document are as follows;
1. Continued free movement of medicines
The government has a contingency plan in place that covers information on medicines used by patients and medicine providers across the UK to ensure that any medicines and vaccines continue to be available in the UK in the case of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
Any pharmaceutical companies that supply the UK with pharmacy and prescription-only medicines have been contacted by the DHSC to ensure that they have made arrangements to have a minimum six weeks additional supply of such medicines in the UK by March 2019 in preparation for Brexit. In addition to this, measures have been put in place to ensure that any medicines with a shorter shelf life will be available if necessary.
A selection of wholesalers and pre-wholesalers of pharmaceutical medicines have been advised to have greater warehouse space to store medicines and have also been given additional funding to ensure they have the capacity needed for any stockpiled medicines.
A key point to note in this guidance is that the contingency plans for medicines supply are continuously under review and the DHSC will publish any further guidance when necessary.
2. GPs are not to stockpile
As the manufactures and wholesalers of medicines have the plan in place to store up to six weeks extra of medicines, there is no requirement for GPs, community pharmacies, hospitals or care homes to stockpile from their end.
It has also been stipulated that clinicians in GP surgeries and hospitals are not to write longer prescriptions and are to discourage the public from storing up on their medicines as there are already contingencies in place for this. The guidance notes that any instances of over-ordering will be investigated.
3. Protocol for medicine shortage
The DHSC is looking into changes made to the medicines legislation which will allow greater flexibility around the primary care dispensing of medicines. The guidance states there will be safeguards put in place during this to ensure that the new legislation is used correctly and safely. Further arrangements are being made to ensure that stock levels at local and regional levels are monitored correctly.
Here is a link to the guidance document and other useful documents around this topic: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-guidance-note-on-the-regulation-of-medicines-medical-devices-and-clinical-trials-if-theres-no-brexit-deal