Radioisotopes

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

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Photo of Neil Coyle Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of radioisotope suppliers have confirmed that freight provisions are in place to avoid delays at ports preventing people accessing cancer treatments as a result of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

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

Leaving the European Union with a deal remains the Government’s top priority - this has not changed. However, as a responsible Government, we must plan for every possible outcome including ‘no deal’. The Department has published guidance to industry and the health and care system to allow them to make informed plans and preparations. This is available on GOV.UK.

We are reliant on transport and freight being re-routed but are confident that, if everyone – including suppliers, freight companies, the health and care system and international partners - does what they should do, the supply of medicines and other medical products, including medical radioisotopes, will be uninterrupted.

The Department has put in place a multi-layered approach to minimise any supply disruption:

- securing, via the Department for Transport, additional roll on roll off freight capacity (away from the short straits crossings to Dover and Folkestone) for goods to continue to come into the United Kingdom from 29 March;

- asking industry to build up stockpiles in the UK before 29 March;

- buying extra warehouse space for the additional stock to be held in;

- supporting companies in booking space on aeroplanes for products which require an immediate shipment due to short shelf-life, including medical radioisotopes, or specific storage conditions;

- making changes to, or clarifications of, certain regulatory requirements so that companies can continue to sell their products in the UK even if we have ‘no deal’; and

- strengthening the processes and resources used to deal with shortages in the event that they do occur.

There is cross-Government agreement that all medicines and medical products will be prioritised on these alternative routes to ensure that the flow of all these products may continue unimpeded. For any products that require air freight, such as medical radioisotopes, we are continuing to work with suppliers to ensure this continues as normal.

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