Thursday 19 September 2019

Theresa May: My insulin supply could be affected by a no-deal Brexit

British Prime Minister Theresa May holds a press conference at 10 Downing Street, London, to discuss her Brexit plans. Photo: Matt Dunham/PA Wire
British Prime Minister Theresa May holds a press conference at 10 Downing Street, London, to discuss her Brexit plans. Photo: Matt Dunham/PA Wire

David Hughes and Jennifer McKiernan

Theresa May has revealed she is personally affected by concerns over post-Brexit medical supplies as her insulin is made in Denmark.

The Prime Minister, who has Type 1 diabetes, said she appreciated the importance of ensuring medicines from the European Union could continue to reach the UK.

The Danish firm which manufactures Mrs May's insulin said it was stockpiling supplies in the UK in case of a hard Brexit in March 2019.

Mrs May's comments came after reports Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the crunch Brexit Cabinet meeting that he was was unable to guarantee people would not die in the event of a no-deal Brexit due to problems accessing medicine.

Mrs May told LBC: "I'm not sure that's exactly what Matt did say.

"This is an issue that I feel personally - as it happens my insulin is produced by a company in the EU, Denmark, so I know this is an issue that's a matter of importance to people.

"The Department of Health is ensuring it is making all the steps if we go to no-deal ... But I believe we've got a good deal."

Pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk's general manager Pinder Sahota told the BBC: "Over the past few months we have been preparing for the hard Brexit eventuality.

"We have been putting plans in place to more than double our stocks so that we can continue to supply all our medicines to the patients we serve."

He said stock levels were being doubled to 16 weeks "not only on insulin but all our medicines".

Mr Sahota told Radio 4's World at One: "Clearly we are anticipating border delays so all our planning including our stock provision really takes that into consideration - supply chain processes and potential delays. We have factored all those in, we believe."

He added: "We are reassured that Theresa May and her Government do take this seriously and we have been working with the Department of Health to ensure that Novo Nordisk can continue to supply insulin and our other medicines."

Mr Sahota said he had not spoken to Number 10 about Mrs May's treatment: "That's really a matter for her and her physician."

PA Media

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