Government urged to fund Brexit stockpiling of medicines

Out-Law News | 17 Oct 2018 | 1:05 pm | 1 min. read

The UK government should help industry to fund the cost of stockpiling medicines ahead of Brexit, a trade body has said.

The Ethical Medicines Industry Group (EMIG) has written to the health secretary in England, Matt Hancock, urging the minister to "make financial support available to suppliers to support them to fulfil the government’s request to stockpile 6 weeks’ supply of medicines on top of their usual stocks".

EMIG surveyed 61 of its members in September and found that 35% of respondents said they either do not intend to, or aren’t sure whether they will, stockpile medicines in contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit. The survey also found that more than half of small companies in the sector believe they will experience increased costs or cash flow problems due to additional stockpiling.

EMIG said funding from the government is therefore "urgently required" to ensure industry can "take steps to secure the UK’s medicines supply in the event of a no-deal Brexit outcome".

"Without this support we believe that some companies will not be able to fulfil the government’s request, which could jeopardise the future security of medicines supply," EMIG said.

According to EMIG's survey, fewer than half of the respondents said they have received guidance from the government about stockpiling medicines, but almost two-thirds of the companies said they plan to increase the amount of stock they hold in the event of reduced market access after Brexit.

EMIG's September 'Brexit barometer' survey followed two similar surveys the body carried out earlier this year, including one in June.

The latest survey found that more than a quarter respondents believe the UK will "crash out" of the EU in a 'no deal' scenario. More than two-thirds of the companies said they have "little or no confidence that the government will obtain a ‘good’ deal for the UK pharmaceutical industry".

The survey also revealed that more than a quarter of EMIG members estimate that they have already spent more than £100,000 preparing for Brexit, while approximately half of the respondents said they expect to spend at least that amount preparing for Brexit over the next 12 months.