Sort it out NOW! More than 2,000 medicines barred from Britain due to hated Brexit deal


MORE than 2,000 medicines currently shipped to Northern Ireland are on the verge of being withdrawn as a result of problems resulting from the controversial NI Protocol, a trade organisation has warned.

Most pharmaceuticals come from Great Britain – but this process has become more difficult since January as a result of the added paperwork and bureaucracy involved.

In his statement, issued after Lord David Frost called for the EU to agree to renegotiate the arrangements, Mr Samuels said: “We welcome the Government’s attempt to find a solution to medicines supply for Northern Ireland – however the situation is dragging on too long.

“We need both sides to agree a resolution for Northern Ireland immediately.

Ursula von der Leyen Boris Johnson

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and PM Boris Johnson (Image: GETTY)

Lord David Frost

Lord David Frost in Parliament on Wednesday (Image: GETTY)

“Over many months, we have been vocal about the need for companies to know the regulatory rules for which they need to plan.

“Without an agreement between the Government and the EU, uncertainty prevents manufacturers from planning.”

He explained: “The manufacturing, quality control and supply chain for medicines are highly complex – they cannot be reengineered overnight.

Protests Northern Ireland

Protests in Northern Ireland earlier this year (Image: GETTY)

“Four out of five drugs used by the NHS are generic medicines, and this large scale exacerbates the supply chain complexity.”

The industry delivered high volumes of medicines at low prices with small commercial margins, Mr Samuels pointed out.

He added: “It thrives on simplicity and efficiency but is now caught in a complicated situation with Northern Ireland – which under the Protocol is treated as part of the EU – requiring different medicines regulation rules to the rest of Great Britain.

Lorries Belfast

Lorries next to the container terminal at Belfast Port (Image: GETTY)


Pharmaceuticals roll off a production line (Image: GETTY)

“This situation threatens to prevent companies from supplying an identical product to Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

“The result of this duplication would be to require extra warehousing, laboratory testing and technical specialists.”

Such duplication could make supplying Northern Ireland “unviable in the longer term”, Mr Samuels admitted.

He said: “After months of asking for a stable agreement between the Government and EU, our companies have been forced to put on notice over 2,000 medicines for withdrawal from Northern Ireland.

“These steps have been taken with the utmost reluctance but our members are being forced into an impossible position.

“We need all parties to set aside the politics of Brexit and put patients first.”

The UK Government has insisted there is no immediate risk to the public.

However, a spokesman said: “It is crucial the people of Northern Ireland have the same access to the full range of medicines as other parts of the UK.

“The UK government continues to work closely with the EU, industry partners and the Northern Ireland Executive to address outstanding issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol and minimise its impact on day-to-day lives.

“We have proposed bespoke arrangements that would enable medicines to move from or through Great Britain into Northern Ireland without the need for expensive and burdensome re-testing.

“Solutions must be found urgently to address this issue and others and we await a response to our proposals from the EU in writing.”


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