Intended for healthcare professionals


No-deal Brexit may worsen drug shortages, pharmacists warn

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 20 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5226

Linked Opinion

If leaked Operation Yellowhammer document is wrong, then the government must publish the right one

  1. Abi Rimmer,
  2. Gareth Iacobucci,
  3. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has expressed concern about drug shortages in a no-deal Brexit despite the government’s “multi-layered approach” to mitigate risks.

Documents compiled this month by the Cabinet Office under the codename Operation Yellowhammer, which were leaked to the Sunday Times on 18 August, set out the likely effect of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal.12

They said that, because three quarters of medicines come to the UK through the main Channel crossing between the UK and France—where disruption is expected to last as long as six months after a no-deal Brexit—these medicines were particularly vulnerable to severe delays.

“While some products can be stockpiled, others cannot because of short shelf lives. It will not be practical to stockpile six months’ supplies,” the documents said.

They added that the Department for Health and Social Care was developing …

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