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Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 253707, tabled on 13 May 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the amount of insulin procured before 29 March 2019 as part of preparations for the UK leaving the EU without a deal that has been (a) destroyed, (b) redistributed and (c) sold back to manufacturers.

Answered on

16 May 2019

The Department fully understands that maintaining access to insulin is vitally important to many people in this country.

The Government remains committed to leaving the European Union with a deal. We have now reached agreement with the EU on an extension to the Article 50 period until 31 October at the latest, with the option to leave earlier as soon as a Withdrawal Agreement has been ratified.

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, there will be an implementation period running till the end of 2020, during which there will be no changes to the current trading arrangements with the EU. Therefore, if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified, the supply of medicines will continue on the same basis it does now during this period.

Leaving without a deal remains the legal default at the end of the extension period if no Withdrawal Agreement is agreed. Therefore, as a responsible Government, we will continue to prepare to minimise any disruption to the supply of medicines and medical products in a potential ‘no deal’ scenario.

We are continuing to work with trade bodies and other stakeholders to review the position carefully before sharing further guidance at the earliest opportunity. Stockpiled medicines were not procured by the Department as part of our ‘no deal’ plans and remain the property of medicines suppliers. On 26 April we wrote to pharmaceutical companies, including those who supply insulin, asking in the meantime, that all ‘no deal’ measures (such as stockpiles, additional buffer stocks etc) should remain in place but on hold until further guidance is available.

We are confident that if everyone, including suppliers, freight companies, our European neighbours, and the health and care system, does what they need to do, the supply of medicines and medical products should be uninterrupted in the event we leave the EU without a deal.

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