Brexit: Coveney urges people not to stockpile medicines
Preparations ongoing by sourcing medicine via various routes from Europe, says Minister
Simon Coveney: “The challenges that we face are the fact that a lot of the medicines that would have been supplied into Ireland until now come either via the UK or from the UK.”
The Minister said the Republic has put the necessary measures in place to ensure no shortages of in-demand medicines sourced in the UK. Mr Coveney said people stockpiling medicines could have a serious impact on supply lines, though he was keen to note Ireland differed substantially from the UK in terms of its medical supply lines. Moreover, media reports about medicine shortages in the UK did not apply to Ireland.
“We are very clear . . . stockpiling in itself potentially causes problems, which is why I think the message here, and the messages in the UK, is we should not be stockpiling.
Earlier this week, the Health Products Regulatory Authority told the Irish Daily Mail that it is already dealing with shortages of up to 45 drugs every month while pharmacists said they fear Brexit will exacerbate existing supply issues given 70 per cent of drugs used here come from, or through, the UK.
But Mr Coveney moved to reassure people, saying Ireland has already begun preparing for a hard Brexit by seeking alternative supply routes for medicines from the EU rather than from the UK which would involve different certifications.
“The challenges that we face are the fact that a lot of the medicines that would have been supplied into Ireland until now come either via the UK or from the UK. And the authorisations in the UK from the European Medicines Agency may not be possible in a crash-out Brexit situation,” he said.
“Therefore, we would have to essentially reroute how we access the medicines that we need certified or authorised in the EU as opposed to in the UK. There has been a lot of planning to make sure that that can happen in a way that is seamless.
“The Department of Health does not have a list of any drugs they believe will be in short supply because of Brexit, because of the planning that has been taking place now for many many months,” said Mr Coveney.
He added: “We’ve already between 10 and 12 weeks of supply of medicines for the vast majority of medicines in Ireland and we have a Department of Health, HSE and other stakeholders working together to make sure we can have consistency of supply through Brexit whether it is a no-deal Brexit or not.”