Companies have been asked to retain existing stockpiles of medical supplies, compiled as a contingency measure ahead of Brexit

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it was evaluating the potential impact of Covid-19 (coronavirus) on the supply of medicines and medical goods.

The government confirmed that there was no current medicine shortage in the UK but directed suppliers to carry out a risk assessment on the impact of the disease on their businesses to relieve potential pressures on the global supply chains.

As an extra precaution, pharma companies have also been asked to retain existing stockpiles of medical supplies, compiled as a contingency measure ahead of Brexit, where possible.

However, the DHSC dismissed the need for the public or the NHS to stockpile, saying it could aggravate problems elsewhere in the supply chain if they emerged.

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said: “We are not aware of any current medicine shortages linked to this novel coronavirus, but we are putting in place common-sense measures as a precaution to help to ensure the uninterrupted supply of medicines to UK patients.”

The government says it would continually monitor the impact of Covid-19 on the UK supply chain and put in place measure to protect UK patients.

“We have world-class systems in place to prevent supply problems and we are working closely with industry and partners to prevent shortages and ensure the risks to patients are minimised,” the minister added.

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