Issues associated with the Falsified Medicines Directive should be considered approximately one month before Brexit, if dispensaries are to avoid wasted time, money and effort in implementation, MPs have been told.
Speaking to an inquiry into the impact of a no deal Brexit on health and social care, pharmacy contract negotiators the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has said: “After the UK exits the EU, access to the EU FMD hub will depend on the relationship between the UK and the EU. Access is likely to continue during the transition period, but a no-deal Brexit could undermine the time, money and effort that have been put into complying with this legislation by revoking access to this central system.”
MPs have been asked to consider the importance, cost and implementation of the FMD before Brexit.
Other concerns arising from a no-deal Brexit include the availability of generics. PSNC said: “The competitive market in generic medicines, which over the years has driven down costs for the NHS, may behave differently in a time of crisis, leading to supply issues and an increase in the cost of medicines.”
In its submission to the health select committee inquiry, PSNC asks for community pharmacies to be able to exercise appropriate professional discretion to ensure the continuity of an alternative equivalent medicine to patients, and to take measures to ensure stocks remain available for as long as appropriate, to ensure the continuity of supply to patients.
Commenting on the six-week buffer stockholding by pharmaceutical companies, PSNC warns: “[This] should go some way to ensure the supply or critical medicines to patient in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but as it is not possible to say what the conditions will be in the event of no-deal Brexit, it is difficult to comment on whether this will be sufficient.”