Thursday 19 September 2019

Medicine supply to Ireland is 'safe' after crash-out


Claim: Michael Gove is in charge of the UK’s no-deal planning. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Claim: Michael Gove is in charge of the UK’s no-deal planning. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A crash-out Brexit is not expected to have an immediate impact on the availability of medicines to patients thanks to planning under way for two years to protect our supplies, health officials said yesterday.

They were responding to claims by Michael Gove, the Conservative Party minister in charge of the UK's no-deal planning, that medicine shortages after a disorderly Brexit would also affect Ireland, because two-thirds of supplies here are routed through Britain.

However, this was rejected by the Department of Health.

"Significant work has been undertaken by the Department of Health, the HSE and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), together with the pharmaceutical industry, to anticipate - in so far as is possible - potential vulnerabilities in medicine supplies after Brexit, and to devise contingencies in order to minimise any risks to continuity of supply," a spokesperson said.

There are already additional stocks of medicines routinely built into the Irish medicine supply chain.

The pharmaceutical industry and wholesalers have provided assurances "they are confident they will have sufficient stocks to bridge any initial issues at ports, should they occur".

However, given the size of our market, Brexit may cause those with a small share of a particular medicine market to consider the ongoing viability of supply to Ireland.

However, any products that may be affected would be unlikely to be critical to continuity of care as there are and will be alternative suppliers or therapeutic alternatives available," the Department spokesman said.

The HPRA said:"We are in ongoing contact with companies across the pharmaceutical industry to once again highlight regulatory and supply matters linked to Brexit, to obtain additional assurances in respect of their contingency planning and to identify any potential issues."

Irish Independent

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