Brexit and the Supply of Medicines: Update

Thank you for contacting me about the supply of medicines and the effect of leaving the EU on your health.

I am glad to hear that Ministers have had excellent engagement with industry and I have been assured that if everyone does what they are supposed to, the supply of medicines to the UK in the event of a no deal exit will be uninterrupted.

The Department of Health and Social Care has written to all medicine suppliers asking that they continue preparations for all negotiation outcomes. I believe that this is important in order to minimise the risk of disruption. Ministers have also announced a £25 million express freight service to deliver small parcels of medicines and medical products on a 24-hour basis and larger pallets on a 2- to 4-day basis.

Temperature-controlled products will be delivered by express freight if required and work continues to ensure that medicines imported from the EU with a short shelf-live, such as radioisotopes, can be imported by air in a no deal scenario.

The Government has also been clear that it wants EU nationals currently working in the NHS to stay in this country after we leave the EU. After the country leaves the EU, the UK will set its own immigration policy and, in parallel with this, the Department of Health and Social Care will ensure that there are sufficient staff to continue delivering high quality services.

Future healthcare arrangements will be a matter for the future partnership negotiations but the Government has been clear that there should be continued participation in the EHIC scheme after the UK leaves the EU. In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, my ministerial colleagues have proposed maintaining existing healthcare arrangements, including an EHIC type arrangement, until 31 December 2020 in order to minimise disruption.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Craig Whittaker MP

September 2019