Why pharmacists in Leeds say they won't be stockpiling despite concerns over medicine supplies after Brexit

Pharmacists in Leeds have spoken about concerns over the supply of medication in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Tuesday, 5th February 2019, 2:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 4:44 pm
Pharmacies in Leeds will not be stockpiling medicines despite concerns over medicine supplies post Brexit.

Three pharmacists have spoken today about their planning around medicine supplies as the Brexit deadline of March 29 approaches.

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Pharmacies in Leeds will not be stockpiling medicines despite concerns over medicine supplies post Brexit.

It has asked pharmaceutical companies that supply medicines from, or via, the EU or EEA, to ensure they have an additional six-weeks' of stock to ensure that any customs and border issues don't affect patients.

Shoyab Ummarji, 36, pharmacists at Hyde Park Pharmacy on Woodsley Road said: “We still don’t know what’s going to happen.

“Medicine is either going to get cheaper or more expensive. Most likely they will look for alternatives that bypass Europe.

“As an independent pharmacy we don’t have the finance or storage, we can’t afford to stockpile whereas the chains may do."

Mr. Ummarji believes that a no-deal Brexit may have an impact on medicine supplies in his pharmacy.

He said: “It most likely will affect us because most of our medication comes from Europe, if not all of it."

Adeel Sarwar, 42, pharmacist at Roundhay Pharmacy on Roundhay Road said: “The advice from the Department of Health is that pharmacies should not stockpile medication.

“We’ve been assured that will work but I have no confidence in the government in handling the Brexit process."

Mr. Sarwar added: “We’ve also been advised that pharmacies ordering in bulk will be investigated.

“I already have colleagues that have been asked why they are ordering certain quantities when placing large orders”

He said: “We are not stockpiling at the moment. We think everything is going to go smoothly.

“The main depots such as AAH and Alliance might stockpile but we won’t.”

In a letter sent to community pharmacies, GPs and NHS organisations in August 2018, Minister for Health Matt Hancock said:

"Hospitals, GPs and community pharmacies throughout the UK do not need to take any steps to stockpile additional medicines. Local stockpiling is not necessary and any incidences involving the over ordering of medicines will be investigated."

Around three-quarters of the medicines and over half of the devices and one-use medical products such as syringes that the NHS use currently come into the UK via the EU.

Ministers in Whitehall have agreed that medicines and medical products would be given priority over food on freight routes.

The Department of Health and Social Care has also planned to import items with a short shelf-life by air such as the radioactive isotopes used in radiotherapy.