Radioisotopes: Imports

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 10th July 2019.

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Photo of Ben Lake Ben Lake Plaid Cymru, Ceredigion

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with representatives of suppliers of medical radioisotopes on the feasibility of using air freight to import their products in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Photo of Ben Lake Ben Lake Plaid Cymru, Ceredigion

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations he has received from the suppliers of medical radioisotopes on the potential risk to the import of those instruments in the event that the UK leaves the EU without an agreement.

Photo of Ben Lake Ben Lake Plaid Cymru, Ceredigion

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Civil Aviation Authority on the potential risk to the import of medical radioisotopes in the event that the UK leaves the EU without an agreement.

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

The Government maintains that leaving the European Union with a deal is the best exit outcome and has strongly expressed its opposition to leaving without a deal, in line with the position consistently expressed by Parliament. However, leaving without a deal on 31 October 2019 remains the legal default at the end of the Article 50 extension period if no withdrawal agreement is agreed. Therefore, as a responsible Government, we will continue to prepare to minimise any disruption to the supply of medicines and medical products in a ‘no deal’ scenario.

The Department continues to work closely with the devolved administrations, industry trade bodies and suppliers, the National Health Service and our other main stakeholders to ensure that we are prepared for leaving the EU without a deal in October.

On 26 June, we wrote to suppliers of medicines to the United Kingdom from or via the EU or wider European Economic Area (EEA) setting out our continuing multi-layered approach to ensure the continuity of supply of all medicines and medical products in a potential ‘no deal’ exit scenario on 31 October. Further details can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/medicines-and-medical-products-supply-government-updates-no-deal-brexit-plans

We recognise that some medical radioisotopes have a short shelf life and cannot be stockpiled. Therefore, as part of the Department’s contingency planning ahead of a possible March/April 2019 ‘no deal’ scenario, where medical radioisotope products were imported to the UK from the EU or EEA via road haulage and roll-on, roll-off sea, road and rail routes, we asked suppliers to ensure that they had plans in place to air freight those products to avoid any border delays that may have arisen in a no-deal scenario. We worked extensively with these suppliers to ensure plans were in place and are continuing to do so, to ensure that robust contingency arrangements continue to be in place ahead of a possible ‘no deal’ EU exit on 31 October.

The Department has not had discussions with the Civil Aviation Agency in relation to this issue as they are the Government’s expert arm’s length body for the safety, security and economic regulation of civil aviation in the UK. We are, however, working very closely with the Department for Transport.

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