Uncertainty remains regarding access to medicine in no-deal Brexit

Lords are calling for clarity on the topic of access to medicine in the event of a no-deal Brexit

Just nine weeks before the UK will leave the European Union, the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has yet again called on the government to provide clarity on whether access to medicines and medical products can be guaranteed after Brexit in the event of no deal.

The committee had initially written to the secretary of state, Matt Hancock MP, following an evidence session on no-deal preparations for medicine provision in November of last year, asking for clarity and further detail. The minister’s response on 10 January has not, apparently, alleviated all of the members’ concerns.

In particular, the minister failed to state what action is being taken to address the uncertainty that data from clinical trials conducted in the UK will be accepted by the EMA.

The committee is asking for further information in other areas including:

  • When will the government contact suppliers of medicines and medical products to give them notice and guidance on rerouting their supplies?

  • Is Public Health England planning to stockpile vaccines and other products used for urgent public health use?

  • Is there a list of products other than vaccines that may need to be stockpiled for urgent public health use?

  • Can you provide more detail on agreements between the UK and the EU to continue organ exchange after 29 March?

  • Has the government assessed the impact on the UK of the EU’s policy position of clinical trials – namely that pan-EU trials must be based in the EU?

The committee has reiterated that withholding figures prevents the it from fulfilling its democratic obligation to scrutinise the government. It expects a response from the government within 10 working days.

Read the letter in full here.

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