Generic Drugs Could Be Pulled From Northern Ireland Post-Brexit
(Bloomberg) -- More than 2,000 generic medicines made in Great Britain could be withdrawn from the Northern Irish market as a result of Brexit red tape, depriving consumers there of vital drugs.
The British Generic Manufacturers Association, an industry trade body, said different regulations in the province post-Brexit could make it too costly and complex to supply medicines. Four out of five drugs used by the National Health Service are generic.
It is another thorny issue to resolve as Britain tries to renegotiate the so-called Northern Ireland protocol -- the part of the Brexit divorce treaty that sought to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. The U.K. and European Union have been locked in a series of arguments about how products can flow between Britain and Northern Ireland since the separation from the political bloc at the start of the year.
Mark Samuels, chief executive officer of the manufacturers association, said the industry delivers high volumes of medicines at low prices and margins and can’t re-engineer the supply chain overnight. Under the current protocol, drugs made in Great Britain and used in Northern Ireland will have to be licensed separately and undergo safety checks from December when a grace period expires. This will require costly extra warehousing, laboratory testing and technical specialists, he said.
“After months of asking for a stable agreement between the government and EU, our companies have been forced to put on notice some medicines for withdrawal from Northern Ireland,” he said in a statement. “These steps have been taken with the utmost reluctance, but our members are being forced into an impossible position.”
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