No deal Brexit Advice on Medicine Supplies

“Members of the public, GPs, community pharmacies and hospitals should not stockpile medicines.”

BrexitArrangements and Official Advice on the supply of medicines should there be a No Deal Brexit

The Scottish Government is working with all other UK Administrations to make sure that people receive the medicines and other medical supplies they need, as far as is possible, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Pharmaceutical companies have stockpiled medicines and across the UK the NHS has stockpiled other supplies like medical devices and clinical consumables. Arrangements are also being made to transport into the UK, including by air, items that cannot be stockpiled.

The UK Government has stated that, if there are delays at the UK Border, medical supplies will be given priority for entry into the UK.

Members of the public, GPs, community pharmacies and hospitals should not stockpile.

Shortages may occur, but the NHS will manage the situation and if necessary provide suitable alternatives or other treatment while supply is restored to normal levels.

Medicines Shortage Response Group

The UK Government has established a Medicines Shortage Response Group (MSRG) to monitor and respond to developments.  The Scottish Government has established an equivalent group for Scotland, MSRG (SCO).

These groups will be working closely together to identify, assess and respond to shortages.  They are clinically led, by Chief Pharmaceutical Officers. The MSRG (SCO) is playing a key role in ensuring the NHS in Scotland is positioned to both influence and act on local, regional and national shortages and communicate any associated actions in a timely fashion to enable policy decisions to be made and to ensure implementation at pace.

In the event of any shortages the NHS in Scotland is well placed to respond with a streamlined, robust, agile and responsive process ensuring that is effective and protective of public health.

Community Pharmacists Will Amend Prescriptions

For low impact shortages, for example when the response is to use an alternative strength, formulation and/or quantity, then community pharmacists should be able to amend prescriptions electronically in line with existing endorsing guidance (which includes dose, strength and brand substitution).

Where more serious shortages of medicines occur, individual “Serious Shortage Protocols” may be developed and clinically authorised, which will enable pharmacists to amend prescriptions to dispense a different strength, formulation or an alternative medicine, within the scope of the protocol.  These protocols will be time limited.

[All the above information has been from a letter by   the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland ]


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