Brexit panic: Boris issued dire warning over stockpile of medicine for no-deal exit
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The BBC reports the pharmaceutical industry is also advising the government to buy and store “critical” medicines to treat coronavirus. A memo seen by the BBC, which was prepared for the government in May, also warned due to the outbreak there will be “less or zero products available in the market to allow for stockpiling a broad range of products” following Brexit.
It added: “Preparations for the end of the transition period must complement plans to secure the supply of coronavirus therapeutic and supportive products.”
The memo was created by a cross-section of pharmaceutical industry groups, the BBC reported.
They had been looking into scenarios which predicted a failure to strike a trade deal with the EU meaning the UK would have to trade on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms.
The memo said the industry has kept going allowing for a steady flow of medicines through the pandemic thanks to “international coordination and information sharing within global companies to ramp up, and where necessary, redirect manufacturing”.
As a result, the pharmaceutical industry warns against any drastic policies mandating wholesale changes to global medicine supply chains as it could “fundamentally disrupt the supply” of medicines for the NHS and patients in other countries.
A government official told the Financial Times stressed government will have to source its own supplies as well.
They said: “Industry is saying that all last autumn’s stock has run down during COVID-19 and the department now thinks it looks doubtful stockpiling can be industry-led, as per last time, so the government is looking at its own options too.”
They added there was “huge concern” in Whitehall about the risk of a second wave.
The pharmaceutical industry agreed with Whitehall’s stance, saying it advised the government to buy and store a longer list of “critical products” where “supply could be challenging due to either COVID-19 or the end of the transition period”.
The memo also advised the government needs to develop a new broader list of critical products which “reflect the challenges posed by both the end of the transition period and continued response” to the coronavirus crisis.
The government has already faced backlash for struggling to secure essential personal protective equipment and ventilators quickly enough at the start of the coronavirus crisis.
Lib Dem MP Layla Moran said the government must put forward an extension to the transition period because a No-Deal Brexit would limit access to medicine.
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She added: “A no-deal Brexit could limit our access to medicine during a second wave of coronavirus.
“People and businesses have suffered enough this year, the last thing we need is a shortage of medical supplies this winter.
“The government must also start being transparent and regularly publish figures on national stockpiles of vital drugs and medicines.
She stressed that the public “could not be kept in the dark” about how prepared the government was.
Meanwhile, Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians said that the government had to be transparent about national stockpiles saying that it was “very unclear” about what happened to these before and during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In response, the government said it was in regular contact with industry and partners to ensure supplies in “all scenarios” in the coming months as it continued negotiations with the EU.
They added: “Any responsible government has a duty to prepare for all scenarios and robust contingency planning continues in line with our work to avoid a second peak of coronavirus infections.”
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