, 19 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
1/ It's all scaremongering isn't it about #brexit and #drugs? Stockpiling, price hikes, and, as @MattHancock warns, dead patients. Well, here's the lowdown and it's not pretty. With or without #softbrexit.
A thread
2/ Patients with long-term conditions such as #diabetes, #asthma or #schizophrenia, #blood pressure, #heart problems or #cancer down to daily medicines for #rashes and skin problems, take for granted that they will be able to get their medicines when they need them.
3/ According the UK's Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Committee publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cm…
73 per cent of pharmaceutical imports in the UK come from the EU. This equates to around 37 million packets of medicines every month from the EU worth £18.3 billion.
4/ But this is at risk as a result of Brexit. The EU has an agreement with the World Trade Organisation #WTOBrexit that all its members are treated as one body and, as a result, medicines can currently be move freely between any EU member states without border checks or tariffs.
5/ In the event of a no deal, however, the UK would become an individual state within the WTO and would then have to establish its own trading relationship, which will take time and end up costing money.
6/ The #singlemarket and the #customsunion make the pharmaceutical supply industry work. So any change creates major problems. Delays at ports, increased costs and legal or regulatory differences will all affect the price and availability of prescription drugs.
7/ But by adding tariffs and compliance red-tape into the mix, Brexit
will turbo-charge these issues. NHS Providers has already warned that some #NHS trusts had seen shortages of up to 160 different drugs in the past six weeks as opposed to just 25 to 30 drugs in normal times.
8/ Even today, unexpected increases in the prices of certain generic
drugs meant NHS concessionary spending on drugs was £315 million in 2017/18, compared to £46 million in the previous financial year.
9/ Tariffs mean more price increases. The EU is signed up to the Pharmaceutical Tariff Elimination Agreement. But this list has not been
updated since 2010 and pharma companies say 1,000 finished products and 700 ingredients would face tariffs when traded on WTO terms.
10/ According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) – the scientific body which coordinates the development of new drugs across the EU - more than 100 medical products could face supply problems if changes are not made to their marketing authorisations in time for Brexit. Why?
11/ Because the UK will no longer be part of the single market and the customs union, pharma companies will have to transfer their licence to an EU Member State after Brexit to comply with EU law to market their medicines. Worse...
12/ ...if a company does not transfer relevant operations from the UK to one of the remaining EU Member Statesbefore the UK leaves the EU, the company may no longer be able to put the medicine on the market leading to more cost and delay.
13/ So what are the solutions to guarantee post-#brexit #prescription drugs?????
1. Finding UK drug manufacturing capacity is a challenge and
current production is limited. Insulin supply is a particular problem. Increasing capacity would take time to get UK approval for high-quality, safe
2. . #Stockpiling is an option but finding storage capacity is a challenge. There are simply not enough dedicated, sensitive UK facilities to do so given that temperature and humidity environments are crucial for medicine longevity.
3. Borrowing money to pay for the medicines. A 3 month stockpile costs £4.5bn. Which is a problem as pharmacies don’t get paid until the medicines
are dispensed?
17/ If Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement and its associated legislation pass the House of Commons then prescription drugs would flow freely as now until December 31st 2020, the end of the so-called transition period. After that, the transition can be extended by a year
18/ However, if no alternative agreement or extension is in place by October 31st 2019, the UK will inevitably be forced to accept a hard Brexit leading to more cost, more delay and less choice for patients in the receipt of prescription drugs. Unless...
19/ @LiamFox grabs the UK-US free trade deal he wants, opens up NHS drug licensing to US #bigpharma after which the #NHS will be privately provided and supplied by Uncle Sam. Higher prices, less control but @hmg shuffles off the £100bn health bill #theplanallalong ENDS
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