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Sanofi latest to reveal Brexit stockpiling of drugs

Company says UK job losses inevitable in event of hard or no deal Brexit


Sanofi has been making contingency plans for more than a year in case the UK crashes out of the European Union without a deal, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Citing a source at the company, the newspaper says the Paris-headquartered firm has increased its warehoused supplies of medicines across all therapeutic areas from four weeks of supplies to a total of 14 weeks’ worth. This excludes medicines that are in constant shortage, while Sanofi has also increased its reserves of vaccines wherever possible.

The news adds Sanofi to a list of companies who have let it be known they are using stockpiling.

AstraZeneca and MSD (Merck & Co in the US) have both said they are stockpiling in order to head off the threat of medicines shortages in the UK and the rest of Europe after ‘Brexit day’, 29 March 2019.

More than 2,600 medicines undergo at least one stage of manufacturing in the UK, and many drugs go back and forth across borders multiple times.

Sanofi conducts its ‘batch testing’ quality control checks on the continent but has two manufacturing site in Britain, a cross-border process which would no longer be feasible if a hard or no deal Brexit occurred.

Significantly, the company told the WSJ that this would mean that some reductions to its 1,800 strong UK workforce would be necessary.

45 million patient packs are supplied from the United Kingdom to other European countries each month, while another 37 million flow in the opposite direction, figures from the UK industry association the ABPI shows.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) also recently warned that some companies didn’t appear to be ready for Brexit. It warned that it had “serious concerns” in relation to 108 medicines which are currently only manufactured in the UK.

Fears of a no deal Brexit have grown in recent weeks: the UK government’s Conservative party is still riven by rows over Brexit, and last week the European Commission rejected the British proposal for a customs plan as set out in its recent white paper.

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

1st August 2018

From: Regulatory



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