Brexit: PSNC representing pharmacy in DHSC preparations

Brexit: PSNC representing pharmacy in DHSC preparations

August 23, 2018

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has today set out more detail about how it is working to secure the supply of medicines to pharmacies and patients after Brexit.

PSNC is involved in these important discussions, representing the interests of community pharmacies. Our shared objective is to safeguard the continued supply of medicines to pharmacies and their patients from March 2019, when the UK will exit the European Union.

Like all parts of HM Government, DHSC is making contingency plans in case the UK exits the European Union with no deal. Their focus is on securing medicines supply and part of that will involve ensuring that the UK has plentiful supplies of medicines stored before Brexit – pharmacists may have seen national media reports about this national ‘stockpiling’ strategy.

In a letter sent by DHSC to frontline healthcare professionals today (Thursday 23rd August), community pharmacies throughout the UK have been advised that they “do not need to take any steps to stockpile additional medicines, beyond their business as usual stock levels.” Pharmaceutical companies are being asked to hold an additional six weeks supply of medicines, and arrangements will be put in place for the air freight of medicines with short shelf-lives. DHSC also states that prescribers are not required to write longer NHS prescriptions.

PSNC is working collaboratively with DHSC on this alongside representatives from the Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA), British Generics Manufacturers Association (BGMA) and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

The outcomes of this work will feed into PSNC’s Brexit Forum which we have set up to provide a platform for the community pharmacy sector to work through issues and to keep all contractors well informed as the Brexit deadline approaches. This includes monitoring the impact of the stockpiling contingency plans on medicine prices.

We will share information as it becomes available closer to the Brexit deadline, but in the meantime, all pharmacies should continue to operate on a business as usual basis.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:

“PSNC supports this important DHSC work to secure the supply of medicines to pharmacies and patients. Medicines form a vital part of many people’s treatments and after Brexit everyone in the UK must still be able to access the medicines they need, when they need them, from community pharmacies.

There will be operational issues to explore for community pharmacies and our own Brexit Forum will provide another platform for doing so and for ensuring that all pharmacy contractors have the information that they need as we approach the Brexit deadline.

DHSC have been invited to attend the first meeting of our Brexit Forum and we look forward to continuing to work with them on what is a complex but very important matter for UK Plc.”

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