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Breast Cancer: Drugs

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 194160, tabled on 21 November 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with pharmaceutical companies on stockpiling breast cancer medicines to prepare for the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Answered on

28 November 2018

On 23 August 2018 the Department wrote to all pharmaceutical companies that supply the United Kingdom with prescription only or pharmacy medicines from, or via, the European Union/European Economic Area, asking them to ensure they have a minimum of six weeks’ additional supply in the UK, over and above their business as usual operational buffer stocks, by 29 March 2019 in the unlikely the event that the UK were to leave the EU without a deal.

Since then, we have received very good engagement from industry who share our aims of ensuring continuity of medicines supply for patients is maintained and able to cope with any potential delays at the border that may arise in the short term in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

We understand medicines for breast cancer patients are vitally important to many people in this country. However, the Department recognises that through its medicines supply contingency programme, it is requesting sensitive commercial information from pharmaceutical companies. To reassure participating companies, we have committed to treating all information received confidentially, securely and to using it only for the purposes of the Department’s programme. That means not introducing information about a company, specific medicine or their supply routes into the public domain.