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Supply chain

Suppliers opt to stockpile 16 weeks' worth of insulin in UK ahead of Brexit

Speaking at a Parliamentary debate on 19 March 2019, health minister Stephen Hammond confirmed that suppliers have increased buffer stocks of insulin in preparation for a no-deal Brexit.

Insulin suppliers have increased their UK stocks to include 16 weeks’ worth of extra supplies as part of their no-deal Brexit planning.

Speaking during a Parliamentary debate on 19 March 2019 that focused on leaving the EU, health minister Stephen Hammond said insulin suppliers “have increased their buffer stocks so that they will hold 16 weeks of additional stocks over and above their normal supply”.

He added that the move is part of a stockpiling measure that the government has “asked the whole pharmaceutical industry to undertake”.

The government wrote to the pharmaceutical industry in August 2018 asking that they “have an additional six weeks supply of medicines in the UK on top of their own normal stock levels”.

However, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has now confirmed to The Pharmaceutical Journal that the major insulin suppliers have decided to stockpile an additional 16 weeks of insulin in the UK.

Hammond’s comments came in response to calls from other MPs for more information on plans around medicines supply after Brexit.

Julie Cooper, shadow health minister, told Parliament: “I am not convinced that we have sufficient supplies or that sufficient steps are in place to ensure an uninterrupted supply. People, including those who rely on insulin, are legitimately worried.”

Insulin is one of 7,000 prescription-only and pharmacy medicines that have been subject to government planning for a no-deal Brexit.

Hammond responded: “[The DHSC is] absolutely committed to ensuring that there are in place detailed plans, which I hope I will be able to outline and reassure honerable members about, to ensure that in any post-Brexit scenario the health and social care of our country’s citizens is our top priority”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206321

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