U.K. Says Ireland Drug Supply at Risk in No-Deal Scenario

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a no-deal Brexit could lead to drug shortages in the Republic of Ireland and on mainland Europe, as negotiations continue with the European Union over securing a withdrawal agreement acceptable to the British parliament.

“There are more drugs that flow from us to them: you would have thought that nobody on the other side would have wanted to have a blockage,” Hancock told an LBC radio phone-in show Monday, referring to continental Europe. He was answering a question about drug shortages if ports face delays in processing goods should Britain leave the EU without a deal at the end of the month.

“Most of the Republic of Ireland’s drugs come through the same route as they come to the U.K. so if there were a blockage, the blockage would not only be stopping drugs from going from the U.K. to the France and the rest of Europe, as well as obviously to the U.K., but also the drugs supply to Ireland,” Hancock said.

With just 25 days to go until Britain is set to leave the EU, time is running out for Prime Minister Theresa May to secure a deal that’s acceptable to politicians at home. In the event of no-deal leading to blockages at Dover and Calais lasting longer than six weeks, other ferry routes would be used, Hancock said. He has also awarded a contract to delivery company DHL to fly medical supplies to and from Birmingham, central England and Maastricht in the Netherlands.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.