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Novartis fears 'no-deal' Brexit will harm patients - press

Country : UK

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LONDON, 25 Jan (APM) - Novartis said on Friday that it is stockpiling drugs in the UK before a possible no-deal Brexit, which it warned would be “hugely impactful” for patients, it is being reported.
Firms across the economy are bracing for the possibility of the UK leaving the EU on 29 March without a deal after parliament resoundingly rejected the prime minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement.
The Guardian is reporting on Friday that the Basel-based company imports 120 million packs of medicines to the UK from Europe each year but suggested a no-deal Brexit would affect supplies.
“Following parliament’s vote, the risk of UK exiting the EU without a deal is increased and this will be hugely impactful for patients, particularly around the supply and safety of medicines,” it said it a statement.
“We are building increased inventories across our portfolio of medicines in the UK.”
Pharmacists have been told that the National Health Service is planning the use of alternative transport routes and prioritisation of medicines as part of contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit.
The head of the UK’s pharmaceutical association warned in October that stockpiling by companies would not be enough on its own to cope with leaving without a deal, the paper said.
Martin Sawer, who leads the Healthcare Distribution Association, said patients might need to think about ensuring they had enough of their own stocks in January, although others have warned this could itself lead to shortages.
The government has previously said that it does not expect shortages of medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Roche 'unconcerned'

Roche's chairman Christoph Franz said on Monday in Davos at the World Economic Forum about its Brexit preparations: "So, what we have to make sure, in the next forthcoming months, is delivering our medicines, which, in many cases, are lifesaving medicines, to the patient in an uninterrupted flow, and this is exactly what our logistics people are focusing on, and that is our major priority.
"We have already built up enough stocks to be able to provision the British patient as he should be provisioned. So I don't see that this is affecting, at least in the case of our company, any of the patients who needs our medicines."
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