NHS: Drugs

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 5th February 2019.

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Photo of Naseem Shah Naseem Shah Shadow Minister (Equalities Office) (Women and Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of shortages of medicines held by (a) pharmacies and (b) suppliers in the last six months; and what effect the UK leaving the EU has had on the (i) price and (ii) availability of medicines in the UK.

Photo of Naseem Shah Naseem Shah Shadow Minister (Equalities Office) (Women and Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the levels of stock held by wholesalers of pharmaceutical, medical and healthcare products; and whether there have been (a) shortages and (b) price increases in the last six months.

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

We have not seen any evidence that suggests there has been any changes to the volume of medicine shortages or price changes as a result of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. Our number one priority is to ensure the continued supply of medicines which is why we are working closely with industry and partners in the health system to manage the impact of EU exit.

The Department has well established processes to manage and mitigate the small number of business as usual supply problems that may arise at any one time due to manufacturing or distribution issues and this has always been the case. We work closely with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), NHS England and the pharmaceutical industry to prevent medicine shortages, minimise the risks to patients and take appropriate action when shortages do occur.

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