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Diabetes UK responses to guidance on medication stock levels in the event of a no-deal Brexit

The government has published 24 no deal planning papers telling organisations what they need to do to get ready in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Keep up to date with all the latest Brexit news on our Brexit blog.

Dan Howarth, Head of Care at Diabetes UK, said:

“We welcome the guidance published today, asking pharmaceutical companies to ensure they have an additional six weeks supply of medicines on top of their own normal stock levels, in case of a no-deal Brexit.

“Insulin and other diabetes medication aren’t optional extras for the millions of people in the UK who rely on them. It’s incredibly important that the companies involved in its production and distribution, and those involved in guaranteeing its entry into the UK, work together so that supply continues uninterrupted.

“We have been writing to pharmaceutical companies to ask them to put in place such contingency plans, and we want to encourage all companies who provide medicines in the UK to make sure that there is continued access in the future.”

Insulin supply in the UK

Insulin in the UK comes from three main pharmaceutical manufacturers, Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk. Currently, all analogue and synthetic human insulin is imported from outside of the UK, and these are the most common forms of insulin used by people with diabetes in the UK.

Novo Nordisk is the world’s largest producer of insulin. They have production sites in the US, Brazil, Denmark, France, China, Russia, Algeria and in Japan.

Lilly produces insulin in the US, Puerto Rico, France and Italy. They have packaging facilities for these products in France and China.

Sanofi has manufacturing sites in Germany, Russia, India, China and Saudi Arabia. They do manufacture some drugs in the UK, but insulin is not produced in the UK by them.

A fourth provider, Wockhardt, manufacture animal insulin and have a plant in Wrexham. Very few people use animal insulin in the UK, and it would not currently be possible for them to supply the whole UK market.

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