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Media And Political Bulletin – 20 August 2018

Media and Political Bulletin

20 August 2018

Media Summary

Let us airlift flu vaccines after Brexit, says French drugs giant Sanofi

The Times, Sabah Meddings, 19 August 2018

The Times reported yesterday that the flu vaccine may have to be airlifted into Britain to prevent a winter crisis in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to Hugo Fry, the UK Chief of the drug company Sanofi.

Sanofi, which distributes the vaccine by lorry from Val de Reuil in Normandy, has decided to increase its drugs stocks in case Britain fails to secure a trade deal before leaving the EU in March. However, vaccine for winter 2019-20 is not available for stockpiling because it has not yet been made. It would normally begin arriving in the UK in the preceding August.

The Times highlights that experts have warned that no deal could result in long queues at borders because of customs checks.

UK will recognise EU regulations in case of ‘no deal’ Brexit to ensure flow of goods

iNews, Richard Vaughan, 19 August 2018

iNews reports that the UK will continue to recogninse regulations on key European Union imports under a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario in a bid to avoid the country ‘grinding to a standstill.’

It states that the government is expected to publish more than 80 technical reports later this week outlining its preparations for the possibility of Britain crashing out of the bloc without an agreement.

Under the plans, officials will seek to adopt a “flexible” approach should the UK leave without a deal to ensure medicines, car parts and chemicals continue to flow into the country.

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today.

Full Coverage

Let us airlift flu vaccines after Brexit, says French drugs giant Sanofi

The Times, Sabah Meddings, 19 August 2018

Flu vaccine may have to be airlifted into Britain to prevent a winter crisis in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to the largest producer of the jab.

Hugo Fry, UK chief of the French drugs giant Sanofi, said the extreme measure may be needed because of the threat of crucial supplies being stuck in border queues.

Sanofi, which distributes the vaccine by lorry from Val de Reuil in Normandy, has decided to increase its drugs stocks in case Britain fails to secure a trade deal before leaving the EU in March. However, vaccine for winter 2019-20 is not available for stockpiling because it has not yet been made. It would normally begin arriving in the UK in the preceding August.

Experts have warned that no deal could result in long queues at borders because of customs checks.

A delivery hold-up could leave millions of vulnerable people unprotected. “You often live hand to mouth in vaccine production because of the complexity of the manufacturing and the testing,” said Fry.

“What we would have to do is make sure there were some major contingency plans in place.”

This could include flying supplies to a designated location in Britain under an agreement whereby the government would release the delivery instantly, Fry said. Another option would be for marked lorries to be waved through customs without checks.

Sanofi is the biggest supplier of flu vaccine to Britain. Flu, travel and child jabs account for 48% of the country’s total vaccines market, which was worth £536.7m last year.

Earlier this month, the company said it would increase its inventory in Britain from 10 weeks’ supply to 14 weeks’. Astra Zeneca and America’s MSD have also announced stockpiling plans. The preparations come as the government prepares to publish 84 papers outlining the scale of potential disruption of a no-deal Brexit.

Ministers will issue advice to businesses and the public on topics such as blood safety, drugs, life sciences and veterinary medicines.

Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, last week said that Brexit should be treated as a “health security issue” because of the risk of drugs becoming unavailable in some countries.

The government’s formal engagement with the healthcare industry is expected to begin next month. However, drug makers are unable to guarantee being able to get hold of the substances needed to make extra stocks.

UK will recognise EU regulations in case of ‘no deal’ Brexit to ensure flow of goods

iNews, Richard Vaughan, 19 August 2018

The UK will continue to recognise regulations on key European Union imports under a “no deal” Brexit scenario in a bid to avoid the country grinding to a stand still, it has emerged. The government is expected to publish more than 80 technical reports later this week outlining its preparations for the possibility of Britain crashing out of the bloc without an agreement. Under the plans, officials will seek to adopt a “flexible” approach should the UK leave without a deal to ensure medicines, car parts and chemicals continue to flow into the country.

Avoid disruption

According to The Sunday Telegraph, on areas such as medicines, the papers will say the “UK regulator would take steps to keep market access for importers open to avoid disruption”. It will mean goods in key sectors will continue to be accepted into the UK from the EU, but without any guarantees that the terms will be reciprocal.

Last month, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS would start stockpiling drugs in case of a no deal Brexit. It comes amid growing concerns on both sides of the negotiating table that a no deal Brexit is looking more feasible.

Last week, the Danish finance minister put the chances of such a scenario at 50/50. The 84 government documents will cover a broad range of sectors and are intended to illustrate that ministers have put in place sufficient contingencies in the event of a disorderly withdrawal from the EU. Ministers hope the papers, which are expected to be released in batches from Thursday, will also send a message to Brussels that the UK is willing to walk away from the talks unless concessions are made over the terms of Brexit.

Dominic Raab will re-start talks with his opposite number, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, on Tuesday before giving a speech on Thursday on the Government’s preparations for no deal.

Deal likely outcome

But in an attempt to play down the chances of a chaotic departure from the EU, the Brexit Secretary said this weekend – ahead of the publication of the “no deal” papers – that a deal was still “by far the most likely outcome”.

Mr Raab said: “It is the responsibility of the EU to ensure its consumers and businesses are not harmed. “The UK Government believes this is best achieved by both sides taking a non-disruptive approach and will be encouraging cooperation with the EU on no-deal planning.

“Securing a deal is still by far the most likely outcome, but we want to make sure that we clearly set out the steps that people, businesses and public services need to take in the unlikely event that we don’t reach an agreement. “It’s the responsible thing for any government to do, to mitigate the risks and make sure the UK is ready to make a success of Brexit.”

Media And Political Bulletin – 20 August 2018

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