Arthritis: Drugs

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

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Photo of Paul Blomfield Paul Blomfield Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of leaving the EU without a deal on the supply of medicine for juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

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. 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.

The Government has been working closely with industry to ensure the supply of medicines can continue uninterrupted in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU exit, including building stockpiles, providing additional warehousing space, and buying freight capacity on alternative ferry routes.

In August 2018, the Department wrote to all pharmaceutical companies that supply prescription-only and pharmacy medicines, including those to treat juvenile idiopathic arthritis, to the United Kingdom that come from or via the EU/European Economic Area, 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.

This has been a very large undertaking but the response from industry has been extremely positive. The vast majority of companies have confirmed stockpiling plans are in place and medicines continue to arrive to deliver on these plans.

Local stockpiling of medicines is unnecessary and could cause shortages in other areas, which could put patient care at risk. It is important that patients order their repeat prescriptions as normal and keep taking their medicines as normal.

We are confident that if everyone does what they need to do, the supply of medicines and other medical products will be uninterrupted.

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