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Dr Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at NHS England, has written to pharmacies updating them on medicines supply in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Ridge reiterated the government advice for pharmacies to refrain from stockpiling medicines beyond their business as usual stock levels.

“As we know from managing normal medicines shortages, instances of individual organisations stockpiling can risk additional pressure on the availability of medicines for patients in other areas of the country,” he noted.

Though the Department of Health and Social Care has said the public and the pharmacies need not to stockpile medicines, reports indicate that patients are stocking medicines in preparation for a hard Brexit.

The letter gives a summary of the work underway as part of the contingency planning, including the introduction of ‘serious shortage protocol’.

The government has laid out a draft legislation, amending the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, before parliament on Friday, (18 January) proposing emergency powers for pharmacists to ration drugs as per the protocol.

Ridge also informed that the government has reviewed transport routes for all medicines and plans are being developed with industry for re-routing where necessary. DHSC has also secured contract agreements for additional warehouse space for stockpiled medicines, he revealed.  

As part of the Brexit contingency measures, the DHSC has asked drug manufacturers in August 2018 to ensure they have a six-week ‘buffer stock’ on top of the three months they already have in place.

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