HDA UK Welcomes Government ‘No-Deal’ Brexit Planning for the Medicines Supply Chain

HDA UK Welcomes Government ‘No-Deal’ Brexit Planning for the Medicines Supply Chain

London, 23 August 2018 – The Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK) supports the Government’s proposals to prevent disruptions to the supply of medicines to patients, in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit through the stockpiling of medicines, as all possible outcomes of the ongoing negotiations should be planned for.

The HDA has been working with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), and other medicines supply chain representatives, on assessing current levels of preparedness to ensure the supply of medicines to patients across the UK, including the building up of appropriate buffer stocks.

Martin Sawer, Executive Director of the HDA noted: We welcome the Governments plans to develop contingency plans to build up buffer stocks, as they recognise the importance of ensuring patients continue to receive their medicines in the right place, at the right time.  We believe this is a sensible and pragmatic approach at this stage. However, we are clear that a Brexit agreement must still be the primary objective.

Martin Sawer went on to highlight: HDA members ensure a resilient and flexible supply chain that is very well placed to support the Governments plans. However, the devil will be in the detail, with the need for any stockpiling to be carefully managed in order to avoid challenges such as medicine shortages, caused by changes in purchasing patterns. Therefore, we also welcome the strong guidance issued today from the Department of Health & Social Care when they state:

“Hospitals, GPs and community pharmacies throughout the UK do not need to take any steps to stockpile additional medicines, beyond their business as usual stock levels……local stockpiling is not necessary and any incidences involving the over ordering of medicines will be investigated and followed up with the relevant Chief or Responsible Pharmacist directly….. clinicians should advise patients that the Government has plans in place to ensure a continued supply of medicines to patients from the moment we leave the EU. Patients will not need to and should not seek to store additional medicines at home.”

HDA members are well versed in managing demand challenges, where the smoothing out of supply and demand is crucial to ensuring patients receive the right medicines, in the right place at the right time. Association members are in constant contact with their supply chain partners, from manufacturing to dispensing in order to understand likely demand and potential supply pinch-points.

It is also prudent that the Government is planning to unilaterally recognise EU medicines regulation in the event of a no deal scenario, as this could assist the continued cross-border supply of medicines. In addition, the proposal to unilaterally align to the EU/EEA exhaustion regime from Exit day to provide continuity and ensure that parallel imports of goods, such as pharmaceuticals, can continue from the EU, will be a helpful source of supply if shortages are threatened.

The HDA has called for future alignment of UK/EU medicines regulation to ensure the hugely beneficial pan-European supply chain is able to continue to the advantage of patients in the UK who enjoy greater access to lifesaving treatments in the right place, at the right time, as a result.

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About the Healthcare Distribution Association

The Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK) represents those businesses who supply medicines, medical devices and   healthcare services for patients, pharmacies, hospitals, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry. HDA UK members operate across the 4 nations of the United Kingdom enabling a safe, efficient and high-quality supply chain for the healthcare sector.  They are responsible for distributing over 92% of NHS medicines and provide wholesaling services including working capital, stock management and IT systems to their supply chain partners. The HDA and its members are at the forefront of the constantly evolving healthcare supply chain, which is seeing innovative practices and technologies make new services possible for manufacturers and to those who dispense medicines, reflecting the needs and choices of individual patients.

 

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