The Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA) has joined the House of Commons’ Health and Social Care Committee in urging Brexit negotiators on both sides to prioritise patient safety in the next round of talks, saying any disruption could "throw a lot of cogs out of a very complicated machine".

The calls to ensure the impact of Brexit on patient safety is “as limited as possible” came as the Committee published its report following an inquiry into ‘Brexit: medicines, medical devices and substances of human origin’. The report urges all parties to consider the needs of industry and patient groups and to ensure close regulatory alignment between the UK and the EU.

The Committee’s key recommendations include:

  • The transposition of the European Commission’s Good Distribution Practice guidelines into UK law
  • Continued UK participation in Europe-wide clinical trials and the adoption of the new EU Clinical Trials Regulations and Medical Devices Regulations
  • UK membership of all major EU pharmacovigilance systems and databases
  • Free and frictionless trade with the EU
  • An impact assessment on the loss of parallel imports.

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP says in the report: “In order to minimise harm to their citizens, both the UK and the EU27 should look to secure the closest possible regulatory alignment in the next round of the Brexit negotiation.”

The report included written and oral evidence from the HDA on priority issues for its members. HDA chief executive Martin Sawer is quoted as stressing the importance of the medicines supply chain, saying: “Quite rightly, we take the supply chain for granted. A doctor writes a prescription; the patient might go into a pharmacy in the morning and the pharmacy says, ‘Come back in the afternoon and the medicine will be there’.

“We are invisible, and we should be, but I think it is important to recognise that the supply chain is there and operating all the time. A jolt to it like this could throw a lot of cogs out of a very complicated machine.”

Originally Published by Pharmacy Magazine

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