'Brexit buffer' of medicines mean UK is 'well prepared' for coronavirus

4 March 2020, 12:21

The Government have said there are supplies of paracetamol and other drugs
The Government have said there are supplies of paracetamol and other drugs. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Health officials have said preparations for a no-deal Brexit mean the UK is "well prepared" to resolve any potential medicine shortages due to coronavirus.

As the number of cases of coronavirus grows within the UK and worldwide concerns have been raised over potential shortages to vital medicines.

Indian authorities have restricted the export of 26 medicines - including one of the world's most commonly used pain relief medications, paracetamol.

But the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that there are currently no drug shortages as a result of coronavirus.

The body said there are stockpiles of generic drugs like paracetamol "in the event of any supply issues".

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Meanwhile, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said that a "Brexit buffer" of medicines was stockpiled in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which means the UK is "well prepared" for any potential shortages.

"There are currently no medicine shortages as a result of Covid-19," a DHSC spokeswoman said.

They added that the country is well prepared to deal with any impacts of the coronavirus and there are stockpiles of generic drugs like paracetamol in the event of any supply issues.

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Sandra Gidley, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: "The Government recently acknowledged that whilst there is little evidence to suggest that supply chains have been affected as a result of restrictions in movement in China, precautionary steps are being taken to help ensure supply to the UK remains uninterrupted.

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"The Brexit buffer of medicines that was created in preparation for a no-deal means that the UK is well prepared for any potential medicine shortages and has been able to stockpile to maintain access to medicines.

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"As far as individuals are concerned, buying extra medicines when they are not needed is never a good idea as it can contribute towards potential shortages. Talk to your pharmacist if you have any concerns about your medicines. They already manage various shortages of medicines on a daily basis and work hard to get patients the medicines they need to keep them well."