Alliance Party MP and Brexit Spokesperson Stephen Farry has issued a five-point plan on how the medicines challenges arising from Brexit can be addressed.
The MP for North Down has been leading the way on finding solutions on a range of issues and has been engaging with the UK Government and EU Commission on these issues over the past year, and is encouraged that both parties are prioritising the search for solutions and making progress. He has stressed that a sustainable outcome in this area is vital.
Stephen Farry said: “The free flow of and accessibility to medicines and medical devices is absolutely fundamental to our health, well-being and lives. Brexit has thrown up some particular challenges to Northern Ireland that to need to have sustainable solutions.
“Alliance has been engaging with the UK Government and European Commission on these issues over the past year. We worked for and welcomed the grace period that applies to the end of this year. There was a hope that this would buy enough time for supply chains to re-orientate. But that is not going to happen on a sufficient scale.
“I am encouraged that both the UK Government and EU Commission are making good progress in this area, and it is particularly welcome that Maros Sefcovic is potentially willing to ask the European Parliament to make some legislative changes if they prove necessary.
“For Alliance, any agreement should have five key components.
“First, the EU grants the UK a derogation to allows the MHRA to approval of medicines to cover Northern Ireland.
“Second, the EU grants a derogation from the Falsified Medicines Directive to allow drugs coming from GB to enter into NI without a need for fresh batch testing.
“Third, given that the customer base for prescription medicines is essentially the NHS and some highly regulated private providers, a trusted trader scheme is developed, recognising the negligible risk of leakage into the Single Market.
“Fourth, the UK and EU commit to negotiating a mutual recognition agreement as a supplement deal on top of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement.
Finally, as the dual access Northern Ireland has to the GB and EU markets is most obvious in highly regulated sectors, both the UK Government and NI Executive commit to developing the existing life sciences sector and attracting new inward investment.”