HDA Brexit submission to Health Select Committee - press release
HDA UK raises concerns of increased risk to security of medicines supply after Brexit
London, 31st October 2017 – Responding to the Health Select Committee’s inquiry on ‘Brexit - medicines, medical devices and substances of human origin’, the Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK) warned that any disruption to the cross-border flow of medicines following the UK’s exit from the European Union could place patient safety at risk. The HDA urges the UK Government to consider the following key issues as part of the negotiations for exiting the European Union:
- Greater awareness of potential risks associated with leaving the block
- Importance of ensuring medicines supply chain resilience
- Necessity to consider the likely impact of Brexit on the cost of NHS medicines
As part of this submission, the HDA provided insight on several areas that it believes will impact the medicines supply chain after Brexit including, but not limited to, customs arrangements and tariffs, medicines licensing, access to labour and global regulatory co-operation. The Association warned that the introduction of border controls and tariffs, potentially resulting in tariffs making medicines more expensive to import in the UK, and substantially increasing the administrative burden, could have an impact on the security of the supply of medicines in the UK.
Similarly, the loss of equivalence with pan-European legislation for drug approval could have negative consequences on the ability of pharmaceutical manufacturers to bring their products to the UK as quickly as is currently the case. Another pressing issue is the ability to parallel import medicines into the UK – a process which has enabled the country to source products from the EEA to cover availability gaps, at times of unforecasted demand, and mitigate the risks associated with medicines shortages. Parallel imports have also produced direct savings for the NHS, as much as €986.2 million between 2004 and 2009.
The HDA is therefore supportive of a transitional agreement with the EU on these issues, in order to allow time to develop a long-term and sustainable solution, that provides the medicines supply chain with the much-needed certainty and clarity that it requires to deliver the right medicines, in the right place at the right time to patients across the UK.
As an Association, the HDA looks forward to continuing to work with the UK Government, Department of Health and MHRA to ensure that the impact on patient access to medicines and patient safety is as limited as possible when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.
The full submission to the Health Select Committee’s inquiry by the HDA is available to read here.
About the Healthcare Distribution Association
The Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA UK) represents those businesses who supply medicines, medical devices and healthcare services for patients, pharmacies, hospitals, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry. HDA UK members operate across the 4 nations of the United Kingdom enabling a safe, efficient and high-quality supply chain for the healthcare sector. They are responsible for distributing over 92% of NHS medicines and provide wholesaling services including working capital, stock management and IT systems to their supply chain partners. Formerly known as the British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW), the Association rebranded in February 2016 to better reflect the evolving healthcare supply chain, as innovative practices and technologies make new services possible for manufacturers and to those who dispense medicines, reflecting the needs and choices of individual patients.
 Enemark and Pederson. Parallel imports of pharmaceuticals in Denmark, Germany, Sweden and the UK, 2004 – 2009. An analysis of savings. 2011.