HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 22 June 2021
There was no media coverage today.
Written Evidence (IIO0032) – Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK), 18 June 2021
Introductory inquiry into the operation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland
Martin Sawer (HDA, Executive Director): The introduction of European Union (EU) regulations in Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland Protocol have been delayed with a 12-month ‘grace period’ until 1st January 2021.
The additional EU regulations could affect the current supplies of medicine into Northern Ireland and there could be a larger ongoing impact on community pharmacy and patients.
There would be an extra burden on manufacturing medicines for such a small market. HDA member companies believe that there could be a significant reduction in the range of medicines available to NHS patients in Northern Ireland, especially affecting generic and ‘over-the-counter’ (OCT) products, if mitigation measures are not introduced.
UK wholesalers and distributors currently view the UK as one market, and not as four separate country markets. The HDA emphasises that separation procedures and operations from those in the other 3 UK counties, as a result of regulatory variations, breaks the current efficient model of distribution.
Companies are working hard to review their supply chains and take other practical steps to be able to maintain supply to Northern Ireland. A long-term political resolution is required to ensure that Northern Ireland does not become a self-contained small market where there is a smaller range of medicines available to patients. The Northern Ireland market is not large enough to warrant the separate regulatory and import burdens, as well as manufacturing and distributing medicines on its own.
The HDA believes that a solution is possible where the intentions of the Protocol are upheld and medicines licensed for use in Great Britain are permitted to be supplied to Norther Ireland without the regulatory impact requirements.
Lord Empey (Ulster Unionist Party, Life peer): To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many planned discontinuation notices for the supply of medicines they have received as of 1 June 2021; and what steps they are taking to mitigate such notices.
Lord Bethell (Conservative, Excepted Hereditary): We regularly receive notifications of discontinuations and possible discontinuations from suppliers, as well as information about shortages and potential shortages caused by a whole variety of reasons and numbers change daily. We are unable to provide this information as it is commercially sensitive.
The Department has well-established procedures to deal with medicines shortages and discontinuations and works with a range of stakeholders to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised when they do arise. Not all notifications will lead to the discontinuation of a medicine or a shortage in the market.
There was no media coverage today.
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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