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Naproxen

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 6th March 2019.

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Photo of Royston Smith Royston Smith Conservative, Southampton, Itchen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 January 2019 to Question 205406 on Naproxen, what progress has been made on securing additional deliveries of naproxen.

Photo of Royston Smith Royston Smith Conservative, Southampton, Itchen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 16 January 2019 to Question 209362, what further discussions his Department has had with the health sector on the supply of Naproxen.

Photo of Royston Smith Royston Smith Conservative, Southampton, Itchen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the availability of naproxen on the NHS.

Photo of Royston Smith Royston Smith Conservative, Southampton, Itchen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of stocks of naproxen held by the NHS in the event that the UK leaves the EU.

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

The Department is aware that supplies of naproxen tablets were limited during January and early February due to a manufacturing issue with the active pharmaceutical ingredient. During this time, we worked closely with all suppliers of naproxen tablets to expedite further deliveries.

Supplies of naproxen tablets are currently available in volumes sufficient to meet national requirements. We will continue to work closely with all manufacturers of naproxen tablets to monitor the overall supply situation to ensure supplies continue to remain available. We have provided updates about the naproxen supply situation to the National Health Service via primary and secondary care networks and will continue to do this.

We understand that naproxen, and other medicines, are vitally important to many people in this country. Our contingency plans include sensible mitigations for medicines that come to the United Kingdom from or via the European Union to ensure that the supply of medicines for patients is not disrupted.

The Department is unable to discuss the specific arrangements for naproxen, because to reassure companies engaging in our contingency plans, we have committed to treating all information received confidentially, securely and to using it only for the purposes of the Department’s programme.

A comprehensive plan has been put in place in the form of 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) for goods to continue to come into the UK from 29 March;

- buffer stocks and stockpiling (where this is practical) or asking industry to build up buffer stocks in the UK before 29 March;

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

- supporting companies in booking space on aircraft for products which require an immediate shipment due to short shelf-life 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.

No one of these measures will work on its own. A combination of securing freight, buffer stocks, stockpiling and warehousing, regulatory flexibility, and clinical assessment and decision making, will be required help to ensure the continuation of medical supplies.

Throughout enacting our plans, the response from pharmaceutical companies has been hugely positive. Companies 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 event the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

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