The Prime Minister has said he can ‘guarantee’ continued access to medicines if the UK exits the EU without a deal.
Earlier this month, it was announced that the Government has allocated £450m to prevent drugs shortages in a no-deal scenario and plans to set up an ‘express freight service’ to deliver medicines to the UK following Brexit.
In an interview with the BBC at the G7 summit in France this weekend (25 August), Mr Johnson said continued patient access to medicines is ‘certainly a guarantee that we can make’.
However, he added: ‘I do not want at this stage to say that there won’t be unforeseen difficulties.’
In April, health secretary Matt Hancock said his department ‘never provides guarantees’ in a letter asking pharmacists to avoid stockpiling medicines to ensure uninterrupted supply in a no-deal scenario.
Brexit deal ‘touch and go’
The likelihood of achieving a Brexit deal with the EU is ‘going to be touch and go’, Mr Johnson admitted.
He added that Mr Hancock has ‘got the NHS in a very good state of preparedness’ for Brexit.
However, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) warned last week that the Government’s no-deal contingency plans will not be enough to prevent Brexit-related stock shortages.
In a letter signed by 16 other health organisations, RPS president Sandra Gidley said healthcare bodies still have ‘significant concerns about shortages’ and feel ‘unable to reassure patients’.