Warnings about insulin supply post-brexit

After warnings from EU officials about the impact Brexit could have on medical supplies, reports show that some diabetics in the UK are stockpiling insulin in preparation.

It’s feared that, in the event of a no-deal brexit, there would be delays at the border due to customs controls being imposed.

In Britain, there are around 3.7 million diabetics. Many of them rely on insulin imports to help regulate their blood-sugar levels.

And the vast majority of these imports come from within the European Union. As brexit draws closer, both the UK and the EU say that want to avoid any disruption.

In a recent interview, Robin Hewings, chief policy officer at Diabetes UK commented on the fears of a “national shortage”, which could affect the whole country; or alternatively, there could be issues with supply in certain regions.

He noted: “We definitely do hear that people are making sure that their stocks are a bit higher than usual.”

Some suppliers in Britain have already increased their reserves of insulin. The government has recommended that firms have enough stock to last six weeks.

Some, however, have built up more reserves, as there’s still a lot of uncertainty as to how supplies will be affected – and for how long.

One supplier, US firm Eli Lilly, said in a statement that it has “done everything in its power to prepare for Brexit”. But it also warned that “circumstances outside of our responsibility may disrupt medicines supply”.

The company continued: “A no-deal Brexit would result in the UK’s complete and sudden disassociation from decades of partnership with the EU on medicines regulation and drug safety monitoring.”

Two UK groups, Diabetes UK and JDRF, have made calls for the government to offer more information to firms, and to the public, about how it prepares to act in a no-deal Brexit. The health ministry responded that contingency plans are in place:

A spokesperson said: “We are confident that, if everyone does what they should do, the supply of medicines will be uninterrupted in the event of a no-deal.”

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