Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Norman Lamb
(North Norfolk)
[N]
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Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 10 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Epilepsy: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the availability of essential epilepsy medicines imported from the EU in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Stephen Hammond
Answered on: 15 January 2019

We understand that epilepsy medicines are vitally important to many people in this country. Our contingency plans aim to ensure that the supply of epilepsy medicines and other essential medicines to patients is not disrupted in all European Union exit scenarios, including a ‘no deal’ exit.

That is why on 23 August 2018, the Department wrote to all pharmaceutical companies that supply prescription only medicines and pharmacy medicines to the United Kingdom that come from, or via, the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) asking them to ensure a minimum of six weeks additional supply in the UK, over and above existing business-as-usual buffer stocks, by 29 March 2019.

We followed that up on 7 December 2018 when the Department wrote to pharmaceutical companies that supply licensed medicines to the UK from or via the EU/EEA, and/or manufacture medicines in the UK, informing them of the updated reasonable worst-case scenario border planning assumptions and asking them about their current transportation routes and their ability to re-route their supply chains if they currently rely on Dover and/or Folkestone.

In response to those communications we have received very good engagement from industry, including companies supplying epilepsy medicines to the UK, who share our aims of ensuring continuity of medicines supply for patients is maintained and able to cope with any potential delays at the border that may arise in the short term in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU exit.

Q
Asked by Norman Lamb
(North Norfolk)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 10 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Epilepsy: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to exclude epilepsy medications from the Serious Shortage Protocol for medicines; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 15 January 2019

Any serious shortage protocol would be developed with and signed off by clinicians. Only if clinicians deem it appropriate, an alternative quantity, strength, pharmaceutical form or medicine can be dispensed in line with the protocol. Each protocol would clearly set out what action can be taken by the retail pharmacy, under what circumstances, for which patients and during which period.

Protocols for therapeutic or generic equivalents will not be suitable for all medicines and patients. For example, they would not be suitable for treatments where the medicines that are prescribed need to be prescribed by brand for clinical reasons, for example anti-epilepsy medicines. In these cases, patients would always be referred back to the prescriber for any decision about their treatment before any therapeutic or generic alternative is supplied.

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