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Uncertainty remains on access to medicine in no-deal Brexit: Lords continue to call for clarity

Just nine-weeks before the UK will leave the European Union the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has yet again called on the Government to provide clarity on whether access to medicines and medical products can be guaranteed after Brexit in the event of no deal.

The Committee had initially written to the Secretary of State Matt Hancock MP following an evidence session on no-deal preparations for medicine provision in November of last year, asking for clarity and further detail. While the answers received are welcomed by the Committee, the minister's response on 10 January has not alleviated all of the members' concerns.

In particular, the Minister failed in his response to state what action is being taken to address the uncertainty that data from clinical trials conducted in the UK will be accepted by the EMA. The Minister's response referred to information published months ago and in its letter the Committee ask for assurances to drug companies that trials will continue to be open for UK patients.

The Committee is asking for further information in other areas including:

  • When will the Government contact suppliers of medicines and medical products to give them notice and guidance on rerouting their supplies
  • Is Public Health England planning to stockpile vaccines and other products used for urgent public health use?
  • Is there a list of products other than vaccines that may need to be stockpiled for urgent public health use?
  • Can you provide more detail on agreements between the UK and the EU to continue organ exchange after 29 March?
  • Has the Government assessed the impact on the UK of the EU's policy position of clinical trials – namely that pan-EU trials must be based in the EU?
  • The Committee has also asked, again, for the minister to provide the cost of flying in medical products for a six-week period to be disclosed. The Committee has reiterated that withholding such figures prevents the Committee from fulfilling its democratic obligation to scrutinise the Government. The Committee does not consider an estimate of this figure to have adverse commercial implications, as the Government has stated.

The Committee expects a response from the Government within ten working days.

Read the letter in full here.

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