Monday 22 July 2019

Harris urges people not to panic-buy medicines

Health Minister Simon Harris. Picture: Fergal Phillips
Health Minister Simon Harris. Picture: Fergal Phillips
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

People have been urged not to panic-buy stockpiles of medicines ahead of Brexit as doing so may lead to a shortage.

An update on planning to avoid medicines shortages if Britain crashes out in March was discussed by Cabinet yesterday.

In the aftermath of the meeting, patients, hospitals and pharmacists were urged not to attempt to stock up on medicines now as this could disrupt the current supply chain - which accounts for stockpiling - and lead to shortages of certain products and hamper other patients.

Health Minister Simon Harris moved to reassure people that the Government is not anticipating an "immediate impact" on medicines in the event of a no-deal.

Planning has been under way for two years and there is also work being done with Revenue on a means to fast-track drugs into Ireland.

Vulnerable medicines are being monitored in order for alternative treatment plans or new distribution models to be established if they are needed.

While Mr Harris appeared to dismiss a suggestion by the Taoiseach that there were 24 such products on a list, he confirmed medicines being monitored include intravenous foods and radiotherapy products.

Mr Harris noted that all countries, including Ireland, contend with medicine shortages on occasion and urged patients not to be worried or concerned in advance of Brexit, whether there is a deal reached or not.

The memo on medicine supply was one of four brought to Cabinet yesterday outlining the Government's progress on contingency planning in the event of a no-deal Brexit which the Government has insisted it believes is an unlikely outcome, despite the chaos that was witnessed in Westminster.

Irish Independent

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