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.