Pharmacy leaders warn ministers about post-Brexit medicines shortages in Northern Ireland

06 Oct 2020

The UK Community Pharmacy Falsified Medicine Directive Working Group is calling on the government in Westminster to protect the supply of medicines into Northern Ireland following the end of the Brexit transitional period on 31 December.

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol of the EU Withdrawal Agreement, the EU pharmaceutical regulatory framework will continue to apply in Northern Ireland, which means that Northern Ireland pharmacies will be required to comply with the EU Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) even after the end of the transition period.

Great Britain – the main supply route for medicines into Northern Ireland – will no longer have to comply with FMD, leading to concerns that new costs and complexity could threaten continuity of supply into Northern Ireland.

Chair of the UK FMD Working Group, Raj Patel MBE, said:

“If it becomes unviable for manufacturers and wholesalers to put stock into Northern Ireland, pharmacies in NI might quickly find themselves short of supplies and unable to service patients’ needs. Since medicines regulation is not a devolved responsibility, we are asking the Westminster government to clarify what arrangements it has for medicine verification in Northern Ireland after 31 December.”

Last month, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry warned a parliamentary committee that the medicines supply route across the Irish Sea could face disruption.

The UK Community Pharmacy FMD Working Group consists of the national organisations representing community pharmacy across the UK (NPA, CCA, AIM, PSNC, CPS, CPW, CPNI).