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Health charities appeal to Scottish Government to detail no deal Brexit contingency plans

Four leading health charities - Diabetes Scotland, Epilepsy Scotland, Marie Curie Scotland and the MS Society - are calling on the Scottish Government to urgently provide details of their plans, in tandem with the UK Government, to maintain the supply and distribution of essential medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

While the supply of medicines is a reserved matter for the UK government, the effectiveness of contingency plans to maintain the supply, storage and local distribution of essential medicines in Scotland will depend on all relevant agencies and authorities working in close collaboration. 

Speaking on behalf of the four Scottish Health charities, Angela Mitchell, National Director of Diabetes Scotland said: 

“It is less than four weeks until 29 March and people are telling us how anxious and concerned they are about the lack of clarity and detail.  As leading patient voice charities, representing hundreds of thousands of people, we have a responsibility to articulate the very real worries and fears many have about the supply, distribution and storage of medicines in a no deal Brexit.

“Insulin, for example, is a daily life-saving necessity for thousands of people with diabetes, and any delay or interruption to access would be incredibly dangerous. 

“Anti-epileptic drugs are also a daily necessity for people with epilepsy.  Any delay or change in the makeup of the drug (coating or binding) might trigger seizures in someone whose condition has been well managed for many years with no guarantee they will be seizure free again. Additionally, emergency rescue medication, like midazolam, is a vital lifesaving drug for people to manage epilepsy. Any interruption to supply raises serious concern and may result in avoidable deaths. 

“There are many other drugs and medical supplies which are equally critical to health. 

“We are urgently calling on the Scottish Government to produce the detail required to reassure the Scottish public that all relevant organisations involved in the supply, storage and local distribution of medicines in Scotland, have robust systems and agreements in place.”

Following a Diabetes Scotland meeting with senior Scottish Government officials to discuss the recently published Scottish Government update on medicine supplies in the event of a no deal Brexit, we feel reassured there are robust systems and plans in place.  The Scottish Government is working closely with all the other UK administrations and pharmaceutical organisations to ensure that people receive the medicines and medical supplies they need if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.  Scottish Government has committed to making information about progress readily available to the public and we will keep working with them to make sure this happens.

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