Hard Brexit ‘would mean in­creased medicine costs’

Irish Examiner - - Business - Pádraig Hoare

Pa­tients will have to bear the cost of in­creased ad­min­is­tra­tive fees for medicines in the event of a hard Brexit, a body rep­re­sent­ing the sec­tor has said.

Medicines for Ire­land, a body with the coun­try’s largest sup­pli­ers of medicines to the HSE, said Brexit could have se­vere mon­e­tary as well as so­cial costs.

Joint chair of the body, and gen­eral manager of Teva Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals Ire­land, San­dra Gannon will speak at a health prod­ucts Brexit stake­holder event to­day, where she will out­line what the group calls “the risk to pa­tients and to the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try” if a hard Brexit oc­curs. Medicines for Ire­land claims bor­der de­lays due to more rigid cus­tom con­trols would “pose a risk to short life and tem­per­a­ture con­trolled medicine prod­ucts and in­crease pa­tient wait­ing times where emer­gency sup­plies of medicines may be re­quired”.

It said cus­tom con­trols be­tween the Repub­lic, North­ern Ire­land and Britain would also add to the “ad­min­is­tra­tive bur­den of im­port­ing medicines into Ire­land”, thereby in­creas­ing the cost of medicines for the health ser­vice and pa­tients.

It also claimed Ire­land may no longer be seen as an at­trac­tive ex­port mar­ket for UK medicines man­u­fac­tur­ers, which could “ex­ac­er­bate the ex­ist­ing prob­lem of medicines short­age in Ire­land”.

Ms Gannon said the worstcase sce­nario would be if the UK opts for a Swiss model, leav­ing the Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area — which in­cludes EU and coun­tries such as Nor­way and Ice­land —- and the cus­toms union.

“If the UK adopts a dif­fer­ent set of stan­dards, the in­dus­try in Ire­land will be hard-pressed to meet two sep­a­rate reg­u­la­tory regimes,” she said.

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