Epilepsy: Drugs

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 15th January 2019.

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Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb Chair, Science and Technology Committee (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the availability of essential epilepsy medicines imported from the EU in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

We understand that epilepsy medicines are vitally important to many people in this country. Our contingency plans aim to ensure that the supply of epilepsy medicines and other essential medicines to patients is not disrupted in all European Union exit scenarios, including a ‘no deal’ exit.

That is why on 23 August 2018, the Department wrote to all pharmaceutical companies that supply prescription only medicines and pharmacy medicines to the United Kingdom that come from, or via, the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) asking them to ensure a minimum of six weeks additional supply in the UK, over and above existing business-as-usual buffer stocks, by 29 March 2019.

We followed that up on 7 December 2018 when the Department wrote to pharmaceutical companies that supply licensed medicines to the UK from or via the EU/EEA, and/or manufacture medicines in the UK, informing them of the updated reasonable worst-case scenario border planning assumptions and asking them about their current transportation routes and their ability to re-route their supply chains if they currently rely on Dover and/or Folkestone.

In response to those communications we have received very good engagement from industry, including companies supplying epilepsy medicines to the UK, who share our aims of ensuring continuity of medicines supply for patients is maintained and able to cope with any potential delays at the border that may arise in the short term in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU exit.

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