Brexit: Call for better communication over fears around medicine shortages

As the prospect of a no deal Brexit becomes more of a reality, there is a call for better communication with the public around medicine shortages and stockpiling.

The conversation on Brexit stockpiling has been growing for months, from Dominos pizza spending £7 million on sauce and toppings to supermarkets asking the government to waive competition law in the event of a no-deal.

But, a bigger problem has garnered concern since the possibility of a no deal became more plausible. A medicine shortage that could have detrimental effects for disabled people in the UK.


On the surface the stockpiling of medicine could seem like a safety net, ensuring that people in the UK will have access to the medications they need to live a healthy life.

The reality of medicine stockpiling is not as positive. The countdown to Brexit is on, with October 31 marking more than halloween. With this date fast approaching the prospect of a no deal is more real than ever.

Many of the medications that are essential to disabled people in the UK are brought in from the EU, or travel through it to eventually reach your local pharmacy.

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal the laws and regulations around medicines could result in a shortage of many medications.

As a pre-emptive measure large pharmaceutical companies have started stockpiling medications with the intention to ration these to smaller pharmacies.

These measures could affect prescriptions and even life-saving medications if a no deal is to occur.

The Government has announced extra funding which will go towards ensuring a steady supply of critical medicines to those who need it, but it is currently unclear of for how long this will improve the process.


With the threat of a medicine shortage looming panic is the natural reaction, and one that people who require medication to live a healthy life are experiencing.

Now, the EU’s European Medicines Agency is calling for improved communication with the public to prevent this panic, and stockpiling itself.

Guidance issued by the agency last month recommends a change in the way the public is informed about medicine shortages.

Communication practices differ between member states, but in order to reduce the impact of a no deal it is recommended there is a review of existing practices to provide clear guidance.

This will improve the public’s trust and understanding of what will happen to medications in the event of a no deal.

As October 31 gets closer, this guidance has to be put into place in order to reduce the concern around medicine shortages for disabled people in the UK.

Are you concerned about medicine stockpiling? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram to start a discussion.

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