Brexit will disrupt the supply of medicines. This could do irreparable harm to the nation’s health. It will also damage our reputation as a leader in this sector.
- The UK could become a third-tier market for medicines, meaning that we would be down the queue for access to new drugs as they come onto the market. This is a consequence of the UK leaving the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which regulates all new medicines for the whole of the EU.
- The UK will be reliant on its own regulator, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, to do the work of testing new pharmaceutical products. However as a market it will be a lower priority for the big pharma companies to get their drugs approved:
“a separate regulatory system to the EMA could lead to delays of 12 to 24 months for UK patients being able to access lifesaving cancer drugs.” SOURCES: Brexit Briefing: A health service on the brink: the dangers of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, page 12, British Medical Association, 13 May 2019; What could Brexit mean for our access to medicines? Dr Anthony Cox, Clinical Pharmacy and Drug Safety, University of Birmingham, 29 October 2019; Access to medicines and medical technologies, NHS Confederation, 14 May 2020
The use and transport of radioactive material is governed by the EU’s Euratom programme with the UK left on 31 January 2020. Radioisotopes are essential in the diagnosis and treatment of lymphoma and other cancers.
“As radioisotopes decay rapidly, UK hospitals rely on a continuous supply by road from reactors in the EU. It would be impossible to stockpile radioisotopes, as has been suggested for other essential medicines. Even delays at the border could render radioisotopes with a shorter half-life such as iodine-131, which has a half life of 12 h, useless.” SOURCE: Health and Brexit: what lies ahead? The Lancet 29 March 2019
The UK relies on free flowing supply of blood products from the EU. A delay at the border could have devastating health impacts.
“What is of greater concern is the availability plasma and plasma derived products, such as albumin and immunoglobulins. These products are part of a complex supply chain; the UK has a single fractioning plant that supplies about 40% of the country’s needs, with the remainder being imported, including from several plants in Europe.” SOURCE: Health and Brexit: what lies ahead? The Lancet 29 March 2019
Brexit, Covid and flu: The perfect storm bearing down on the health service this winter
A combination of a second wave of coronavirus, a potential flu epidemic, a rise in urgent cancer and other non-virus-related cases and Brexit chaos could leave Britain facing an unprecedented ‘perfect storm’ this winter, experts have warned as they called on the government to take immediate evasive action.
The four simultaneous threats to the nation’s health and its economy have the capacity to reinforce each other, with the British Medical Association‘s council chair warning about the “devastating” impact of a resurgence of Covid-19 as the NHS faces its annual winter pressures.
“Doctors are rightly extremely worried about a second peak of Covid-19, with around READ MORE
The the following government statement published on 31 January 2020 makes no comment about transport and timeliness of deliveries.
- Government statement regarding quality and safety of human blood and blood products from 1 January 2021.
- From 1 January 2021, you should continue to work to the same quality and safety standards as you do now. You will not need to change your current practice.
- This is because the UK will maintain the existing quality and safety standards for the collection, testing, processing, storage and distribution of human blood and blood components.
- Before importing or exporting blood and blood components from the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein you should consult with the MHRA.