Medicines shortages

Health bodies warn of Brexit risk to drug supplies

According to the Brexit Health Alliance, distribution of vital medicines as well as research and development of new medicines will be disrupted in case of a ’no deal Brexit’. 

medicines stock ss 18


Politicians have been called on to put patients first, and consider the risk of medicines supplies being disrupted post-Brexit

The body representing much of the UK healthcare and medical establishment has when the UK leaves the EU, and called on negotiators to put patients first.

In a briefing paper published on 29 January 2018, the Brexit Health Alliance voiced concerns that unless a Brexit deal was reached, medicines and medical technologies could be delayed or even become unavailable to patients.

Brexit Health Alliance members include the NHS Confederation, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Bioindustry Association and NHS Providers, and in its paper ‘’, the Alliance claimed that 120,000 prostate cancer patients throughout Europe could be affected if Brexit negotiations ended in a ‘no deal’ scenario.

It said that prostate cancer medicine was made in “a highly sophisticated process in the UK”, was used in 80 countries including those across Europe, and was one of many medicines that risked supply disruption if there was no Brexit deal.

The future of research into new medicines and medical technologies could also be affected, the Alliance warned. It said around 750 UK-led clinical trials involving multiple EU member states could be at risk if there was no plan on how to approve and manage these multi-national trials with European partners after March 2019.

Alliance co-chair, and NHS Confederation chief executive, Niall Dickson, said it was “critical” that UK and EU patients did not lose out on the best treatments and medical devices as the UK leaves the EU.

“We want to make sure that patients continue to benefit from early access to new health technologies and cutting-edge medicines, and that includes being able to take part in international clinical trials,” he said.

“This can be achieved if will is there — what patients need is maximum co-operation and alignment between the EU and the UK on the regulation of medicines and medical devices and we very much welcome the UK Government’s commitment to close collaboration with our European partners.”

Claire Thompson, deputy chief scientist, SalvaDore, said the Brexit Healthcare Alliance was “right to highlight some of the challenges around supporting UK research and development, avoiding the burden of additional regulation, and ensuring continued participation in clinical trials”.

“Despite reassurances from the government on the direction of travel, ahead of any final deal being agreed, there is still significant uncertainty across the health and life sciences sector as to the impact of Brexit,” she said.

“It is vital that patients do not either lose access or have delayed access to treatments.”

The Alliance’s paper follows a warning from UK drug distributors and those involved in the parallel importing of drugs in December 2017 to members of the House of Commons Health Select Committee that medicines could become more difficult to import into the UK post-Brexit.

Citation: The Salvadore DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204322

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Physicochemical Principles of Pharmacy

    This established textbook covers every aspect of drug properties from the design of dosage forms to their delivery by all routes to sites of action in the body.

  • Introduction to Renal Therapeutics

    Introduction to Renal Therapeutics covers all aspects of drug use in renal failure. Shows the role of the pharmacist in patient care for chronic kidney disease.

  • Basic Pharmacokinetics

    A clear and concise basic pharmacokinetics textbook. Shows how to apply the principles to achieve successful drug therapy.

  • Disease Management

    Disease Management covers the diseases commonly encountered in primary care by system, with common therapeutic issues. Includes case studies and self-assessment sections.

  • Drugs of Abuse

    A concise, easy-to-read guide for healthcare professionals who encounter drug abuse.


Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete

Supplementary images

  • Pharmacy medicines stock

Jobs you might like

  • Sleaford, Lincolnshire

  • Wembley, London (Greater)

  • Belfast (City/Town)

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.

buy anabolic steroid online