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The Impact of a No-Deal Brexit on Vet Drug Availability

In light of NHS warnings of drug shortages within hospitals in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a question mark hangs over the head of drug availability within the veterinary industry too. Despite government assurances that a good deal will be secured “for both sides”, it’s prudent for professionals within the veterinary industry to begin preparing for a no-deal scenario.

Managing director of Vetsure, Ashley Gray, comments on the likely impact of a no-deal Brexit on drug availability within our industry:

“Manufacturers and wholesalers seem to be offering a cross-section of responses when questioned about their planning for a no deal Brexit. What is clear is that nobody is offering a guarantee of supply maintenance and nor can they. Some don’t believe there will be an issue and are either not taking action or not sharing the details of their plans, whereas others are clearly arranging for substantial stockpiling in the wholesalers – the latter will cause a substantial financial burden which will inevitably mean that wholesalers have to be selective. Some suppliers are planning for the potential need to obtain UK licences for drugs currently operating on EU centralised licenses – there is universal condemnation of the extra cost that this will entail. 

Our advice to members would be to consider increasing their stocks marginally for key products including ‘peripheral’ drugs such as non-licensed and controlled drugs – the latter may experience particular challenges. But at this time, there is little else that practices can do other than watch this space and leave to the wholesalers and manufacturers the consideration of stock-piling where necessary.”

It’s worth noting that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s advice to the NHS and other service providers, in the case of a no-deal Brexit, is to “ensure they have an additional six weeks supply of medicines in the UK on top of their own”.​ With similar levels of EU licensed medications required within the veterinary industry, this is potentially advice worth following for vets too. The situation regarding non-licensed drugs, however, is cloudier still.

As and when the situation advances, we’ll be sure to update you. In the meantime, all any of us can do is monitor the situation.

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