Brexit contingency planning helped medicines supply during pandemic

Pharmacy press

During the public inquiry into the Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, former health secretary Matt Hancock said that work on medicine supply chains in preparations for a no-deal Brexit ‘was the difference between running out of medicines in the peak of the pandemic and not running out’. He credited the work undertaken by DHSC’s Chief Commercial Officer Steve Oldfield and his team during 2019 in preparation for a no-deal Brexit, which he said became extremely useful in saving lives during the pandemic.

Mr Hancock suggested that ‘because of the no-deal Brexit work, we knew more about the pharmaceutical supply chain in the UK than at any time in history, and we had relationships with the pharmaceutical suppliers, and the data to know exactly who had what available and where, and the extent of that information was the difference between running out and not running out of drugs in intensive care in the pandemic.’

We were asked to comment on these revelations.

Director of Legal, Gordon Hockey, said:

“Much work went into the Government’s pre-Brexit preparations with medicines manufacturers and suppliers, including the building up of buffer stocks of medicines. Our understanding is that this was of significant help when many patients wanted their prescriptions dispensed at the start of lockdown in 2020.”