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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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Brexit and diabetes

If you’re living with or affected by diabetes, we know you might be worried about how Brexit may affect things like your diabetes medicines, particularly insulin supplies. 

We will keep updating this information to bring you the latest news on how Brexit could affect diabetes.

How could Brexit affect diabetes?

The UK is no longer a member of the European Union (EU) but we’re still in something called a transition period, which means Brexit isn’t over just yet. This transition period is a time for changes to the rules and customs procedures between the UK and EU to be negotiated. These rules include how we trade medicines, such as insulin, with the EU. 

This transition period will end on 31 December 2020. Rules and custom procedures decided during that period will come into effect the following day. Unless an agreement is found between the UK and EU, the default position on 1 January 2021 would be a no-deal Brexit. This could mean that trading medicines would become more complicated, and it could affect supply of insulin into the UK.

The government are not expecting any disruption to medicine supplies, but we’re continuing to work with them to ensure people with diabetes will still be able to get the medicine they need. Get in touch with us if you’re worried or if you’re experiencing problems with medicine supplies.

Brexit and insulin supplies

The Department for Health and Social Care have confirmed that the government are working towards an EU agreement on medicines. They are also putting in place measures to ensure there are no supply issues in the event no-deal is reached. 

Insulin in the UK comes from three main pharmaceutical manufacturers – Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk. These suppliers currently import insulin from outside of the UK. We’re supporting the government in asking these insulin suppliers to keep six weeks stockpile of medicines in the UK to reduce potential disruption.

Brexit and other diabetes medicines

We’re supporting government calls to suppliers of other diabetes medicines to keep six weeks stockpile in the UK too. This will help ensure people with diabetes can still access the medicine they need in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

Many medicines, such as metformin or gliclazide, are made by a large range of companies within the UK, and so it is unlikely that suppliers will face stock problems after the transition period.

Brexit and diabetes technology 

We continue to be in regular discussion with the Department of Health and Social Care, and can confirm that medical devices (including diabetes technology) are also included in their planning for both a deal and no-deal outcome.

However, some types of diabetes tech - such as the Abbott FreeStyle Libre - are manufactured within the UK and so shouldn’t be affected by Brexit. 

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