Farmers and vets advised ‘not to stock up’ on medication

The supply of medication by UK manufacturers into Ireland will be negatively impacted if farmers, vets, pharmacies and members of the public begin stocking up on provisions, the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, has warned.

Minister Simon Coveney was speaking about the issue as ministers gather in Leinster House this week to discuss further the Government’s Contingency Action Plan in a bid to protect numerous UK / Ireland trade agreements in the event of a no-deal Brexit on March 29.

In a statement to AgriLand, Coveney said officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine had been liaising with stakeholders over the last two years in preparation for Brexit and the potential impact it may have on the supply of veterinary medicines.

“In conjunction with colleagues from the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), the principles guiding the approach to Brexit include: ensuring continuity of supply of veterinary medicines; the adoption of a pragmatic approach to addressing any supply issues; and encouraging stakeholders to engage directly with the authorities in relation to any supply concerns.

Based on this the department does not expect any significant supply issues for veterinary medicinal products.

However, Minister Coveney also warned that “stockpiling of medicines is not required, and not recommended as stockpiling itself can create supply issues”.

He went on to say that a number of pharmaceutical companies, at this stage, had adapted their supply chains to ensure their products would comply with European regulatory requirements from March 29.

“Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine officials, together with colleagues in the HPRA, will continue to engage with industry to ensure that where any supply issues are identified, pragmatic solutions can be developed where possible,” the minister confirmed.

Trade and supply

Meanwhile, efforts to avert issues developing around trade and supply arrangements already in place between Ireland and the UK continues at Government level.

“The plans we have in place for our ports and airports to facilitate east / west trade flows. The Omnibus Bill containing the legislative changes we need immediately in a no-deal scenario is expected to be published on February 22, 2019 and the general scheme was already published on January 24,” the Tanaiste concluded.