The Reader: Patients must have safeguards if Brexit blocks medicines

The Reader: Patients must have safeguards if Brexit blocks medicines

   August 10, 2018  
 
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The Reader: Patients must have safeguards if Brexit blocks medicines

THE drug company Sanofi’s decision to stockpile medicines [“Drug firm on alert over Brexit no deal”, August 1] is both inevitable and sensible. Not before time the Government has acknowledged that a no deal is a real possibility and that we all need to plan for such an eventuality.

Cars waiting at the border is one thing, medicines and other vital medical supplies is something else and, of course, is quite unacceptable. At the very least the Government needs to provide assurance that UK patients will receive the medicines they need.

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The reality is that modern healthcare, like so many industries, relies on complex interdependent supply chains and agreements which have been built up over the past 40 years when we have been members of the European Union. Undoing all this could lead to chaos unless we plan effectively and the negotiators on both sides exercise common sense.

In terms of medicines, 45 million patient packs go to the EU from the UK every month, and 37 million patient packs come from the EU to the UK.

Much of what the NHS does is on a “just in time” basis and the service cannot afford for supplies to simply stop.

It would be wrong to cause unnecessary alarm, but we do need to make plans now to make sure that whatever happens next year, patients in the UK and indeed in the rest of Europe, will be protected.

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