The government is looking at plans to stockpile medicines in case a ‘no deal’ Brexit leads to medical supply shortages, the newly-appointed health secretary has admitted.
Matt Hancock said that despite being “confident” the UK will not crash out of the EU without a deal, he had accelerated preparations for such an eventuality since joining the department at the start of July.
Elsewhere, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said the Government would also take steps to ensure an “adequate food supply”.
Hancock, appearing before MPs during his first appearance in front of the Commons’ health and social care committee on Tuesday, said: “We are working right across government to ensure that the health sector and the industry are prepared and that people’s health will be safeguarded in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
“We are working with industry to prepare for the potential need for stockpiling in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit,” Hancock said, adding that there was “obviously going to be a cost implication of doing this”.
“This is exactly the type of contingency planning you would expect us to be doing,” the minister added.
The government is also focusing on the importance of guaranteeing a continuous supply of drugs with a short shelf-life, Hancock said, explaining that some medicines could be flown into the UK if there are issues at ports.
“You can imagine that it is incredibly important for me, as Secretary of State, to ensure that people will have access to the medicines that they need,” he continued.
“It is vital that we get the preparations right, but I am also confident that with the right amount of work, we can mitigate the worst of the circumstances.”