Brexit and Community Pharmacy

Published on: 12th November 2018 | Updated on: 31st March 2022

The UK left the European Union (EU) on Friday 31st January 2020, with a transition period in place until 31st December 2020. Now, as the GOV.UK website states, new rules apply to things like travel and doing business with Europe.

The shared objective of Government and those across the medicine supply chain is to safeguard the continued supply of medicines to pharmacies and their patients following the UK’s departure from the EU. Community Pharmacy England will continue to represent the interests of community pharmacies in discussions on this topic as part of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) EU Exit Medicines Supply Industry Collaborative Group. We are also working closely with the other national pharmacy organisations via our Community Pharmacy Brexit Forum.

Community Pharmacy, the UK-EU Trade deal and the end of the Transition Period

In preparation for leaving the EU (prior to the start of the Transition Period), DHSC developed a multi-layered approach for protecting the supply of medicines and medical goods. These measures were revisited for the end of the Transition Period, and adapted where necessary.

On 30th December 2020, Health Minister Edward Argar MP wrote to health and social care colleagues to provide an update on the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The letter includes information on medicines continuity of supply, reciprocal healthcare, health security and science, data and professional qualifications, and the Minister thanks every single person working in the sector for their dedication to the unprecedented challenges of 2020.

The letter is available to read in full here, or you can read Community Pharmacy England’s summary here.

Older updates

DHSC letter to medicines and medical products suppliers (3rd August 2020)
This letter from Steve Oldfield, Chief Commercial Officer, sets out the Government’s plan and requests of industry and the wider supply chain ahead of the end of the transition period to help ensure the continuity of supply of medical goods into and out of the UK. You can also view a summarised version of this information in Community Pharmacy England’s news story.

DHSC letter to medicines and medical products suppliers (17th November 2020)
This letter updates the August 2020 letter.

EU Exit – medicines supply continuity: NHSE&I letter from Dr Keith Ridge (10th December 2020)
This letter from Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England, explains the work that has been undertaken to ensure continuity of medicines supply for the end of the transition period. It advises NHS organisations not to stockpile locally and to not change prescribing behaviours.

EU Exit: Medicines Supply in Primary Care (17th December 2020)
Community Pharmacy England and the British Medical Association (BMA) issued this joint statement on medicines supply ahead of the end of the Brexit Transition Period, indicating the united position across primary care. It recognises the significant amount of work undertaken by the DHSC and NHSE&I, and stresses the importance of collaborative working to maintain patient care.

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