Pipette taking medicine from a tray

UK and EU reach agreement in principle affecting supply of medicines

Reports out of the ongoing Brexit negotiations suggest that an agreement in principle has been struck between UK and EU negotiators, covering a number of aspects including the supply of medicines and how border control posts will operate for Northern Ireland.

Negotiations are firmly into the eleventh hour at present, as discussions race to reach an agreement ahead of January 1, 2021.

Further urgency to negotiations has also come about due to time being needed to put any relevant legislation through parliamentary scrutiny.

The uninterrupted supply of medicine has been a key point of concern for many across the UK health sector, with fears over a no-deal Brexit leading to potential delays in supply of products.

Disruptions in the supply chain were already seen earlier throughout the year as a result of Covid-19, with supply routes in many cases already having had to flex and build back resiliency.

Back in September 2020, following guidance having been released by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Chief Executive of ABPI, Richard Torbett, said: ““Companies face significant changes in how the complex environment for medicines regulations will operate in 2021.

“If we are to ensure uninterrupted supply for the NHS from January, the MHRA must continue to work closely with them on details related to individual medicines as well as on issues related to the Northern Ireland Protocol and on other areas of regulation.

“However, we have always said that the best way to avoid disruption in the long term is for both sides to consider the impact on patients in the UK and the EU and agree a deal.”

In reaching a mutual position on a number of these key issues, the UK Government has formally stated it will withdraw controversial clauses from its Internal Market Bill – a largely symbolic olive branch it had offered a few days ago, and will now make formal.

The details of the agreement have not yet been published, but are expected to be ratified in the coming days. They will take effect regardless of whether the UK and EU negotiators can agree a trade deal.

Negotiations around a Brexit trade deal remain ongoing, with a number of sticking points remaining. However, a number of government officials including Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove have praised the reaching of this agreement as representing positive forward progress.

Read more about Brexit and it's impacts on healthcare through our dedicated Brexit Resource Hub:

Brexit series - Lord Frost banner


NHE Sept/Oct 21

NHE Sept/Oct 21

Improving care for long-term conditions

Join us in our September/October edition of National Health Executive, as we explore a range of topics impacting and improving the care that we can deliver to patients, the facilities within which we deliver them, and the opportunities in the digital space to accent and evolve our care capabilities


View all videos
National Health Executive Presents

National Health Executive Presents

NHE365 Virtual Festival: Digital Healthcare

The integration of new technology, such as using virtual outpatient appointments instead of face-to-face reviews of patients in the hospital. Adapting the ways in which our NHS workers serve people has been critical in continuing to provide high-quality treatment, a positive patient experience and preventing Covid-19 transmission during the pandemic. Our healthcare sector has the potential to transform the way we continue to provide essential services while also improving patient care. But how easy is the integration of these innovations into routine NHS practice?

On the 28th of October, at the NHE365 Virtual Hospitals & Technology Enabled Care online event, we will be discussing patient flow and experience, reducing waiting times, reducing the patient backlog and increasing technology adoption. Will you be attending? 

Finger on the Pulse

Ep 14. Health messaging is a science, Professor Craig Jackson

On Episode 14 of NHE's Finger on the Pulse podcast, we're joined by Professor Craig Jackson, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology
Birmingham City University to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, the health messaging around it and how those in power have missed a trick by overlooking the key role of psychology in informing the public of restrictions, measures and the ever-changing situation

More articles...

View all