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Hancock: UK building ‘refrigeration capacity’ in case of Brexit drug shortages

The health secretary has said that the Government is building extra ‘refrigeration capacity’ in case a no-deal Brexit leaves the UK short of certain medicines.

Speaking to the ITV’s Peston show, Matt Hancock urged patients not to stockpile medicines, and said the Government is working with the pharmaceutical industry to ensure patients are able to obtain necessary medication.

The BMA has previously said that leaving the EU without a deal in place will be ‘potentially catastrophic’, while NHS Providers have warned that ‘the entire supply chain of pharmaceuticals could be adversely affected’ in the event of a no-deal Brexit in a letter leaked to The Times.

It is feared that potential increased customs checks resulting from a no-deal Brexit will lead to delays in medicines - including insulin - being imported from Europe.

Mr Hancock sought to allay these concerns. He said: ‘Even though yes we think that we will get a deal and I’m confident we will get a deal, we are making sure that we have more refrigerated capacity for medicines.

‘It’s very important that people don’t go out of their way to have bigger personal stores because the NHS will be supplying unhindered flows of medicines to people in any scenario. That is our clear goal and we are working with the pharmaceutical industry to reach it.’

Earlier this year, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: ‘The consequences of “no deal” could have potentially catastrophic consequences for patients, the health workforce, services and the nation’s health.

‘Some will say we are scaremongering by warning of the dangers of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, but this is not the case. We aren’t shying away from being honest about what is at stake for health services if the UK and the EU fail to reach a deal. As experts in delivering health services and providing care for our patients, we have a duty to set out the consequences of leaving the EU with no future deal in place.’

The BMA has called for a second referendum before the UK exits the EU.

 

 

Readers' comments (9)

  • Not clear who is expected to cause the customs delays. Presumably not the exporting EU countries, but UK customs! One would have thought that arrangements could easily be made for drugs from the EU to be treated exactly the same as at present or is it a matter of being caught up in general queues? Never heard about problems for drugs currently imported from non-EU countries.
    As regards cool storage of insulin, vaccines etc, they are transported in refrigerated vehicles to maintain the cold chain and any delay, be it half an hour or a whole day, certainly ought not to be a problem. There are vaccines from India used in the UK, with the cold chain correctly maintained during transport.
    Adding a dash of ‘health scare’ of course spices up the Brexit mix politically.

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  • Vinci Ho

    (1) The government has the duty to ensure that patients are not compromised in NHS no matter what outcome ( a deal , no deal , more referendum etc) of Brexit we are going to have after March next year . This is responsible politics . And the transition period is there for a reason .
    (2) Yesterday we witnessed even more extreme polarisation in a country after its midterm election with more predictable infightings within a nation .The question we want to ask ourselves here , is that really what we want in here as well ?This is ethical politics.
    (3)Evidently, the ruling party of our government is currently fragmented into three pieces : the cabinet supporting the Chequers Proposal, the Brexiteers opting for a no-deal Brexit and the Remainers supporting another referendum (even rejecting a soft Brexit now). The opposition party is no where better in terms of making up its mind and ensuring party unity . This is reality politics .

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  • Vinci Ho

    Dedicate my favourite song from Eagles to all of us who are ‘entangled’ by this Brexit :

    Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
    You been out ridin' fences for so long now
    Oh, you're a hard one( the blood difficult woman ?)
    But I know that you got your reasons
    These things that are pleasin' you
    Can hurt you somehow
    Don't you draw the Queen of Diamonds(no deal?), boy
    She'll beat you if she's able
    You know the Queen of Hearts(a deal?) is always your best bet
    Now, it seems to me some fine things
    Have been laid upon your table
    But you only want the ones that you can't get
    Desperado, oh, you ain't gettin' no younger
    Your pain and your hunger, they're drivin' you home
    And freedom, oh freedom, well that's just some people talkin'
    Your prison is walking through this world all alone..........

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  • I have 1 word for this - B*ll*cks. Operation Fear in full swing again. And sure, the BMA can support a referendum - but I hope the options are 1. No deal. 2. Chequers. Anything else is betrayal/treason

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  • Project fear on steroids, obviously.
    So tell me -- why does everyone run around panicking at the thought of a no-deal Brexit, and that we will all starve/have huge customs delays? We all managed before 1973! We will clearly all make the necessary arrangements. Because, quite simply, if the UK can't import easily from the EU, what will we do - sit down in the middle of the road and scream? What will actually happen is that if there is any delay to the supply chain from the EU, it will be made very clear to the EU that if this situation continues, we will be buying from elsewhere, they will lose their market, and if the EU tries to be awkward, they may well lose us permanently.
    The other thing that the EU needs to remember is that 17.4 million of us (including our families) will have a choice: if the EU acts awkward, will we actually want to buy from it any more? We could have an excellent boycott of German, French and Slovakian cars, French and German wines, and most importantly, holidays. That might just concentrate EU minds a bit.

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  • Vinci Ho, love your Eagles 'Desperado' analogy. Even the title of the song seems apt!
    What about the last 2 lines of 'Hotel California':
    You can checkout any time you like,
    But you can never leave!

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  • Vinci Ho

    Well , since we are on Eagles:
    This is specifically for the PM from lying eyes:
    ‘’You can't hide your lyin' eyes
    And your smile is a thin disguise
    I thought by now you'd realize
    There ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes’’

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  • No one bothered to check informed consent. Voters voted not based on facts but lies. The double standards of politicians. Get a deal or no deal, see how it looks and re-vote for true democracy.

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  • Nonsense again from Hancock's Half Hour!
    We have not actually 'Brexitted' yet, but already we have run out of such basic, non-refridgerated supplies as ordinary Frusemide tablets and Naproxen (sorry, 'Furosemide' for the younger readers).
    There is something off supply every month, often for months on end, and that is normal.
    Look at the stupid advice we were given recently telling us to breach GMC guidance in telling patients about Epipens!
    About time we left europe and made our own drugs as we need them.

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