A Brexit forum representing community pharmacy and organisations involved in the medicines supply chain has been set up to share advice and information in the run-up to the UK leaving the EU.
The forum was set up by the community pharmacy negotiators, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), following its meeting on 10—11 July 2018.
The move comes after the new health minister, Matt Hancock, said he was having talks with industry about the stockpiling medicines in case of a no-deal Brexit, and the parliamentary vote for the UK to have continued involvement in the European Medicines Agency after it leaves the EU.
The intention is that the Community Pharmacy Brexit Forum members will share information about the impact of Brexit on community pharmacy and the supply chain and offer best advice.
It will also liaise with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to make sure that the supply chain is maintained.
Its inaugural members are the chief executives from the National Pharmacy Association, the Company Chemists’ Association, the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association, the Dispensing Doctors Association and the Healthcare Distribution Association.
“We expect the DHSC, NHS England and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to have contingency plans and to monitor the medicines supply market, during and after Brexit, but the forum will help to identify relevant issues and seek appropriate clarification as required, in the approach to the Brexit deadline,” said a statement from the PSNC.
Gordon Hockey, director of operations and support at the PSNC, told The Pharmaceutical Journal he is hopeful the new forum will help prevent any problems with the supply chain caused by a no-deal Brexit, but was unable to say which medicines could be in short supply.
“I think the key is to try and work from facts, rather than fears. There are all sorts of issues and what we don’t want to do now is to second guess them,” he said.
“What we want to do is bring people together so that the issues can be discussed, and as a sector, we can liaise with the government and NHS England so that there is confidence in the supply chain, and that it does continue uninterrupted so that medicines get to patients.”