Medical supply must be protected if there’s a no deal Brexit

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​Charities want answers on post-Brexit medicine supply

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4th March 2019 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Leading health charities have demanded the Scottish Government urgently provide full details of plans in place to ensure medicine supply if there’s a no deal Brexit.

Diabetes Scotland, Epilepsy Scotland, Marie Curie Scotland and the MS Society have issued a joint statement calling on ministers to urgently provide full details of the plans they are working on, in tandem with the UK government, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

While the supply of medicines is a reserved matter for Westminster, the effectiveness of contingency plans to maintain the supply, storage and local distribution of essential medicines in Scotland will depend on all relevant agencies and authorities working in close collaboration.

Speaking on behalf of the four Scottish health charities, Angela Mitchell, national director of Diabetes Scotland, said: “It’s less than four weeks until 29 March and people are telling us how anxious and concerned they are about the lack of clarity and detail.

“As leading patient voice charities, representing hundreds of thousands of people, we have a responsibility to articulate the very real worries and fears many have about the supply, distribution and storage of medicines in a no deal Brexit.

“Insulin, for example, is a daily life-saving necessity for thousands of people with diabetes, and any delay or interruption to access would be incredibly dangerous. Anti-epileptic drugs are also a daily necessity for people with epilepsy.

“There are many other drugs and medical supplies which are equally critical to health.”

She added: “We are urgently calling on the Scottish Government to produce the detail required to reassure the Scottish public that all relevant organisations involved in the supply, storage and local distribution of medicines in Scotland, have robust systems and agreements in place.”

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said any threat to medicine supply is “completely unacceptable” and blamed the UK government’s “reckless” Brexit approach.

She said: “Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU and the concerns raised in this statement clearly outline the profound and lasting impact that a no-deal Brexit would have on Scotland, causing severe damage to our NHS, harming patients and threatening our wider health services.

“We continue to urge the UK Government to end this uncertainty by completely ruling out a no-deal Brexit, removing this additional threat to medicines and medical supplies.

“We are working closely with NHS Scotland health boards to ensure they are as prepared as possible for all Brexit scenarios we might face.”