Epilepsy: Drugs

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 22nd October 2019.

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Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman Chair, Human Rights (Joint Committee)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to ensure people living in the London Borough of Southwark with epilepsy can continue to get the medication they need in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Department is doing everything appropriate to prepare for leaving the European Union. We want to reassure patients throughout the United Kingdom that our plans should ensure the uninterrupted supply of medicines and medical products, including those for use in the treatment of epilepsy, once we have left the EU.

The Department, as part of our EU exit preparations, is implementing a multi-layered approach to mitigate potential disruption to supply, which consists of stockpiling where possible, securing freight capacity, changing or clarifying regulatory requirements, procuring additional warehousing, working closely with industry to improve trader readiness and putting in place the National Supply Disruption Response to manage potential shortages. Further details can be found at the following link:


We have been working closely with suppliers to monitor over 300 different epilepsy medicines provided by almost 50 companies and we are pleased to see many are holding stockpiles far beyond the six weeks’ additional buffer we requested. We also know that the vast majority of those suppliers with lower levels of stockpiles have already taken action to re-route their supply chains away from the Channel short straits crossings where applicable.

The Department, alongside NHS England and NHS Improvement, is ensuring that there is regular communication with frontline NHS organisations and stakeholders in the health and social care sector regarding our EU exit preparations. NHS England and NHS Improvement have also been holding EU exit roadshows in the lead up to 31 October.

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