HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 22 April 2021

Media Summary

There was no media coverage today.

Parliamentary Coverage

Northern Ireland Protocol: Trade with Great Britain

UK Parliament, 21 April 2021 


The main point of this discussion was the flow of goods and products, particularly medicines between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.


Brandon Lewis (Secretary of State for Northern Ireland) said that the situation between Great Britain and Northern Ireland is being monitored, including any potential changes in trade. He noted that there have been no immediate disruptions to goods flows due to the temporary operational steps that were announced in March.


Patricia Gibson (North Ayrshire and Arran, SNP) agreed with the Secretary of State’s concerns. Gibson said that pharmaceutical manufacturers and industry leaders are expected to withdraw up to 90% of medicines sent to Northern Ireland from the UK due to the unaffordability of meeting new Brexit-incurred costs and red tape. She quoted Lord Frost who said last week that “difficult issues remain”.


Brandon Lewis ensured that action will be taken to continue the flow of goods and products. Lewis said that they are working on the medicines issue with the European Commission to find a resolution that works for the whole of the UK.


Sir Jeffrey M. Donaldson (Lagan Valley, DUP) highlighted the challenges of supply for both consumers and businesses caused by the Northern Ireland protocol.


Government launches COVID-19 Antivirals Taskforce to roll out innovative home treatments this autumn

Department of Health and Social Care, 20 April 2021


The Government has launched a new Antivirals Taskforce to identify treatments for patients who have been exposed to COVID-19 to prevent an increase in infection rates and speed up recovery time.


The taskforce will also look at opportunities to onshore the manufacture of antiviral treatments and is aiming to have at least 2 effective treatments this year, either in a tablet or capsule form. Innovative COVID-19 treatments could be deployed as early as autumn, helping to combat a rise in infections or new variants over the winter flu season.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson: described potential at-home treatments as “another vital defence against any future increase in infections” which could help “save more lives.”


Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said that “The UK is leading the world in finding and rolling out effective treatments for COVID-19, having identified dexamethasone, which has saved over a million lives worldwide, and tocilizumab.”


The new Antivirals Taskforce will work together with the Government’s existing Therapeutics Taskforce, which will continue to identify and supply treatments found to be effective in clinical trials for COVID-19.


 Full Coverage

There was no media coverage today.

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 22 April 2021

From Factory to Pharmacy

As part of our mission to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of the healthcare distribution sector, we developed an infographic explaining the availability of medicines. It identifies the factors that can impact drug supply, as well as the measures that HDA members undertake day in, day out to help mitigate the risks of patients not receiving their medicines.

See the Infographic

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