The British Medical Association (BMA) has announced that the UK Government is considering stockpiling of medical supplies in case the country does not secure a relevant deal before exiting the European Union (EU) in 2019.
The government has collaborated with the health sector and pharmaceutical industry to ‘best prepare’ its health services for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
As well as medicines and vaccines, the UK Government could stockpile medical devices, clinical consumables and blood products, among others.
Speaking before the UK Parliamentary health and social care committee Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are working right across government to ensure the health sector and industry are prepared, and that people’s health will be safe-guarded in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
“We need to make sure that we get the balance right between being prepared for all eventualities and making sure that people are going to be able to access all the drugs that they need. Obviously, there is a cost implication of doing this.”
Hancock added that the government is focussing on therapies with short shelf lives and is contemplating flying such medicines into the UK if a gridlock occurs at sea ports.
BMA also reported that NHS chief executive Simon Stevens revealed plans are underway to protect the continued supply of drugs and medical equipment.
According to the association, a no-deal by March next year will result in uncertainty around drugs and medical devices, which can in turn impact the country’s access to new treatments.
BMA said: “While we acknowledge there has been some progress in the negotiations, the challenges and the risks to the NHS posed by Brexit remain considerable. As raised in our Brexit briefings, there is too much uncertainty around the implications of Brexit for patients, doctors and health services.”