Stockpiling medicine for Brexit could cost the UK Billions
UK Health secretary Matt Hancock has sought to curb any medicines shortages which could endanger patient health in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit from 29 March 2019.
Hancock has instructed that the NHS needs to set aside six weeks’ worth of medicines – but according to anti-Brexit campaign group, Best for Britain, this plan will come at a hefty cost.
The figure was based on data from public health think tank The King’s Fund, which showed that £17.4bn was spend on drugs for the NHS in 2016-17.
A Department of Health spokesperson told the Guardian that at this stage, the government was only “asking suppliers to provide specific information on their stockpiling programme to gauge how prepared the industry is”.
The spokesperson added: “We have put in place a dedicated team to support suppliers in making arrangements for stockpiling and we will work with companies to develop plans to minimise any additional costs.”
Various pharmaceutical companies are already implementing contingency plans, including MSD and AstraZeneca.
Sanofi has also declared its own stockpiling strategy, and has said it now holds 14 weeks’ worth of stock in reserve, instead of its usual four weeks.
Last week Hancock wrote a letter urging GPs and pharmacists to rely on the pharmaceutical companies and not to hoard medicines themselves.
The plan was also published last week, alongside no deal advice documents, which foretells what may happen to businesses and consumers if the UK does not negotiate a trade deal with the EU.