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NHS: Drugs

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL11971, tabled on 3 December 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many pharmaceutical manufacturers have guaranteed to hold six weeks' supply of their medicines for the next six months on top of their buffer stocks; and what proportion of pharmaceutical medicines used in the UK are now covered by that guarantee.

Answered on

13 December 2018

The Government has agreed the terms of our exit from the European Union, as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement. The Withdrawal Agreement offers a time-limited implementation period that provides a bridge to the future relationship, allowing business, including the life sciences industry, to continue trading as now until the end of 2020. The supply of medicines and medical supplies would remain unchanged during the implementation period.

As a responsible Government, however, we continue to prepare proportionately for all scenarios, including the unlikely outcome that we leave the EU without any deal in March 2019.

On 23 August 2018, the Department asked suppliers of all prescription-only and pharmacy medicines with an EU/European Economic Area touch point to confirm their contingency arrangements for continued supply to United Kingdom patients beyond 29 March 2019 in the event of a no-deal Brexit and possible delays at the border in the following period.

To date 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. However, as our engagement exercise is still on-going we do not yet have final figures to report.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care