Archived on 25 February 2019 – this content has expired.

National Pharmacy Association position on Brexit [- archived on 26.02.19]

24 Oct 2018

Medicines prices, licensing of medicinal products, safety protocols and health sector workforce will all be impacted by the UK’s departure from the EU.

In view of the wide range of scenarios for Brexit, it is currently very difficult for the pharmacy sector to make detailed preparations – including contingency planning for any disruption to supply in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

That is why we have been calling for the re-establishment of the Medicines Supply Chain Forum, which previously provided an environment for candid discussion between government, pharmacists, wholesalers and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Community pharmacists and everyone in the medicines supply chain, need certainty as soon as possible in order to prepare appropriately to meet patient need.

Timely supply of medicines is important to patient wellbeing, so maintaining a safe and effective medicines supply service will continue to be our primary focus.

With this in mind, it is important that there continues to be effective movement of medicines and medical devices across borders with the European Union.

Government has asked manufacturers and wholesalers to ensure they have a minimum six weeks’ additional supply in the UK as buffer stock in case the UK leaves the EU next March with no-deal and without a transitional agreement.  By itself, this is an insufficient contingency to deal with the potential disruption that might occur.  Certainly, the risk of localised disruption to supply remains.

To mitigate against this, community pharmacists should be permitted to use their clinical judgment to meet patient demand – substituting medicines in short supply for other medicines with the same active ingredients without the need for referral back to a GP.   This is a relatively straightforward contingency in the event of ‘no-deal’.

Furthermore, pharmacies should be able to share medicines with one another to meet patient demand, in the event of one or more pharmacies in an area running short.  This flexibility was available to pharmacies until a few years ago and should be re-introduced.

As these measures may require changes to regulations, we urge the government to engage with us immediately on the matter.

Whatever the Brexit scenario that finally emerges, pharmacists will put the needs of patients first, as they always do.