The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) have today issued a statement reiterating the need to maintain safe and effective medicines supply in the UK as the date for Brexit approaches. They have indicated that they are in close contact with the government and regulators to avoid major disruption which in their view would have a significant impact on pharmacists and patients alike.
The NPA today have made the following statement;
“Medicines prices, licensing of medicinal products, safety protocols and health sector workforce will all be impacted by the UK’s departure from the EU. However, timely supply of medicines is important to patient wellbeing, so maintaining a safe and effective medicines supply service continues to be our primary focus.
“To this end, we continue to be in close contact with Government and regulators about preparations for Brexit. Major disruption to medicines supplies is something to be avoided at all costs, because of the worrying implications both for pharmacists and patients.
“Timely supply of medicines is important to patient wellbeing. With this in mind, it is important that there continues to be the effective movement of medicines and medical devices across borders with the European Union. The new legislation allowing pharmacists to substitute medicines that are in short supply with suitable alternatives is something we and other pharmacy bodies lobbied for and is a sensible contingency. Pharmacists will be able to take action to help patients get their medicines in a timely fashion, without the need for referral back to a GP.
“However, more needs to be done. Pharmacies should be able to share medicines with each another if one or more pharmacies run short of a particular line. This flexibility was available to pharmacies until a few years ago and it should now be reintroduced.
“Brexit is bringing to a head a number of issues that should have been grappled with years ago. Medicines shortages have been a growing problem for months, so while Brexit appears to be exacerbating the situation, it is not the root cause. By now it’s plain that there are structural faults in the medicines supply chain that too often leave patients waiting and pharmacists taking the rap for a situation beyond their control.
“Whatever the Brexit scenario that finally emerges, pharmacists will put the needs of patients first, as they always do.”