As great uncertainty continues to prevail surrounding the eventual impact of Brexit, the industry is working in the background with relevant public health stakeholders on appropriate preparedness.
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, raised the prospect of a shortage of medicines in Ireland should Britain and the European Union fail to agree plans, including on trade, for an exit deal. He was right to signal that proper preparedness for the supply of medicines in the context of Brexit, whether hard or soft, is important for Ireland.
The pharmaceutical industry has a major stake in the lives, livelihoods and lifestyles of people across the country. The medicines we make, jobs we provide and standards of living we enhance help improve Ireland’s society and economy. Our industry, just like many others, wants to help ensure that, after Brexit, Ireland functions as normal, with any risks to the supply of medicines mitigated by proper planning.
The main challenge for the industry is a regulatory one, rather than a trade one. Companies have been contingency-planning for well over a year, with the main consideration around supply chains. Companies have been examining how supply chains might be reorganised when the UK is treated as a non-EU country. The ideal outcome for us would be a UK that stays hand in hand with the EU on medicines regulation.
In the IPHA’s case, we have engaged with key State authorities – the HSE, HPRA, the Revenue Commissioners (in respect of Customs) and the Department of Health – on planning for the management of medicines availability. Our shared goal is continuity of medicines supply for patients in Ireland, whatever the outcome of the Brexit talks.