Doctors call for transparency over no-deal drug risk | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

23 April, Tuesday


Doctors call for transparency over no-deal drug risk

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Doctors' leaders have raised concerns over a lack of clarity about drug availability highlighted by no-deal Brexit planning.

The British Medical Association (BMA) warns "a culture of secrecy" could undermine the ability of medics to plan care and deliver treatment.

Confidential NHS England files, seen by Newsnight, suggest supply chain issues mean some drugs "cannot be stockpiled".

The government said it has been "as transparent as possible".

With political discussions continuing and EU leaders had agreed with a six-month extension to Brexit, the Department for Health has been coordinating work across the sector, involving the NHS, pharmaceutical companies and others to prepare for a no-deal Brexit scenario.

"Stockpiling is just one part of our multi-layered approach to minimize any supply disruption, which includes alternative transport routes," a spokesman said.

"We are confident that, if everyone does what they need to do, the supply of medicines should be uninterrupted in the event of a no deal."

The BMA, which represents doctors across the UK, said it was vital for patient safety that medics were informed about which drugs were being stockpiled and which might be affected by a no-deal Brexit.

"Only if there is clarity on the availability of medicines can GPs, consultants, pharmacists, nurses, and health care professionals plan and deliver effective patient care," said Dr Andrew Green, the BMA's GP committee clinical and prescribing lead.

"If doctors and patients are left in the dark, healthcare professionals are left not knowing what drugs are available to be prescribed, what alternatives there may be and for how long."

The comments follow a Newsnight report about an internal NHS England document, which detailed concerns about several drugs which pharmaceutical companies have been unable to stockpile.

In January, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government had asked firms to stockpile a six-week supply of all drugs which do not have a short shelf life.

This would provide continuity of care in the event of any supply problems caused by a no-deal Brexit.

However, the internal document listed several drugs which had been impossible to stockpile because of problems including "capacity constraints" and "disruption in production".

There is no suggestion that any supply disruption has been caused directly by Brexit.

BBC

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