by Callum McFadzean
Another Brexit extension date prolongs the anxiety for business in the UK. Pharmaceutical companies learned of a potential post-Brexit trade deal with the US that could boost the price of medications, further pushing the uneasy feeling surrounding healthcare in the UK.
Stockpiling medication and supplies may be a short-term solution, but there is the issue of medicine with a short shelf life and the potential inflation of price for drugs in short supply.
In a recent investigation conducted by Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches’, it was found that secret trade deal meetings had taken place with top US trade negotiators and American drug company representatives.
This calls into question what effect a US trade deal would have on the supply of medicine. The US tops the list for the most money spent on drugs per capita, completely bypassing major industrial countries such as Switzerland and Germany. This, however, is not due to high quantities of drugs being prescribed, rather the price rates set by drug companies. If a deal with the US is to pull through, the UK could be facing a similar situation.
As it stands, the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have released their guidance to wholesalers in the UK confirming that a dealer’s license will still be eligible after a no-deal Brexit. Despite the guidelines, the pressure and concerns are already being felt by pharmacists. In a survey conducted by the PDA, it was found that 90% of pharmacists have noticed an increase in drug shortages, with another 55% believing it could get worse if a no-deal Brexit was to come to fruition.
The uncertainty of Brexit seems to have seeped into drug manufacturing in the UK. A ban on some drug exports to save them for NHS patients was announced by the government whilst it was reported by the Chemist and Druggist pharmacy news site that 36 drugs were already in short supply to pharmacies.