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Brexit: 'No guarantee' of medicines if no EU deal agreed

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107873307 mediaitem107873306 - Brexit: 'No guarantee' of medicines if no EU deal agreed

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Mr Russell said there could be no absolute guarantees

Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell has said he cannot absolutely guarantee the supply of medicine to Scotland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

He told the Sunday Politics Scotland programme that plans for a no-deal have been disrupted by delays to Brexit and the Conservative leadership race.

Companies will not repeat their March stockpiling efforts, he claimed.

The UK government said it was “confident” about the supply of medicine and medical products.

Mr Russell said: “The drug companies themselves are very reluctant to be involved in the deep way they were before.

“They will in the end I think do so.

“But all companies involved in stockpiling took big losses in March.”

‘Exit preparedness’

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In June, the UK government made a written ministerial statement to parliament which updated on its “EU Exit preparedness”.

Health minister Stephen Hammond made a further written statement in February on plans to ensure the supply of medicines and medical products.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Our priority is for all patients to continue to have access to medicines and medical products when we leave the EU.

“We are working with industry and other stakeholders to continue robust no deal contingency planning for supply after 31 October.

“We are confident that if everyone does what they need to do, the supply of medicines and medical products should be uninterrupted.”

Cost factor

Mr Russell said he remained concerned about the impact of Brexit on the wider economy.

He believed many businesses were unable to invest in rebuilding stock levels for the second time in a year.

“They’ve been drawing down these stockpiles,” he said.

“I was at an agricultural merchant some months ago where they showed me 200,000 Euros worth of a chemical they had had stockpiled.

“And they simply said they wouldn’t do it again because they couldn’t afford to do it again.”

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