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Brexit medicine stockpiling could cost £2bn

Cost will be incurred whether a 'no deal' Brexit is avoided or not

drugdPlans to stockpile medicines in order to avoid shortages because of Brexit could cost the UK billions, according to a new report.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has sought to head off any medicines shortages which could endanger patient health which could occur in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit from 29 March 2019.

Hancock is instructing the NHS that it needs to set aside six weeks’ worth of medicines - but this plan will come at a hefty cost, according to anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain.

The eye-watering figure was based on data from public health think tank The King’s Fund, which showed that £17.4bn was spend on drugs for the NHS in 2016-17.

A Department of Health spokesperson told the Guardian that the government was only “asking suppliers to provide specific information on their stockpiling programme to gauge how prepared the industry is”, at this stage.

The spokesperson added: “We have put in place a dedicated team to support suppliers in making arrangements for stockpiling and we will work with companies to develop plans to minimise any additional costs.”

Many pharmaceutical companies are already implementing contingency plans, including MSD and AstraZeneca,

Sanofi has also declared its own stockpiling strategy, and has said it now holds 14 weeks’ worth of stock in reserve, instead of its usual four weeks.

Last week Hancock wrote a letter urging GPs and pharmacists to rely on the pharmaceutical companies and not to hoard medicines themselves.

The plan was also published last week, alongside no deal advice documents, which foretells what could happen to businesses and consumers if the UK does not negotiate a trade deal with the EU.

The UK's minister for Brexit Dominic Raab is set to return to Brussels later this week to continue discussions, where key issues such as customs arrangements and the Irish border remain major sticking points.

Article by
Gemma Jones

29th August 2018

From: Sales

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