Various trade bodies in the pharmacy sector has met the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) officials ahead of the parliament vote on the withdrawal agreement on the UK’s exit from the EU.

Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, Company Chemists’ Association and National Pharmacy Association jointly sought updates from the DHSC on the plans to ensure the continuity of supply of medicines to patients.

The meeting focused on “strengthening the lines of communication between government and the pharmacy front line and opportunities to introduce flexibilities into working practices,” the organisations said in a joint statement.

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) also met DHSC officials separately to discuss the so-called ‘secondary measures’, actions that may be required to help maintain the supply of medicines, besides the ongoing manufacturers’ stockpiling.

These measures include allowing pharmacies to exercise appropriate professional discretion to ensure the continuity of an alternative equivalent medicine, quick and clear reimbursement and stock availability information for community pharmacies, more responsive Drug Tariff pricing and reimbursement of any additional costs incurred and appropriate regulatory and practical support.

PSNC said it is also engaging with MPs about Brexit and has recently written to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Access to Medicines and Medical Devices about the need to maintain the supply of medicines beyond March next year.

It will host a meeting tomorrow (30 November) of the Community Pharmacy Brexit Forum, bringing together industry associations to consider the latest developments and discuss them with the DHSC.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal will be put to vote on 11 December, but she faces an uphill struggle to overcome opposition from across the political spectrum.