• No Deal and Medicines

    22 July 2019

    Dear Constituent,

    Thank you for contacting me about medicine shortages in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

    I do not expect the UK to leave the EU without a deal but preparations have been made for all eventualities. Over £4 billion has been provided to help government departments prepare for the UK’s exit and this includes a no deal situation.

    I believe that it is important to minimise the risk of disruption and that is why I am glad that the Department for Health and Social Care has worked closely with industry to ensure an uninterrupted supply of medicines and medical products in the event of a no deal exit from the EU.

    On the specific compatibility between the regulation you mention and the NHS England Commissioning Framework, a substitution will occur only if it is allowed under the serious shortage protocol. There is no automatic generic substitution of branded medicines by pharmacies. The protocol itself will be developed with and signed off by clinicians who will take into account any risks to patients. It will set out the alternatives medicines that can be dispensed, over what period and for which patients. 

    Pharmacists would in addition retain the professional discretion to decide whether to issue a medicine against the shortage protocol or refer a patient back to a medical practitioner for a prescription.

    I hope that this reassures you and thank you again for contacting me.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mel Stride MP

    MP for Central Devon

    Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons