Bruno Bruins penned a letter to the Dutch parliament expressing his concerns about the supply of a number of vital medications from Britain that could be cut off if the country leaves the European Union without an agreement. It is the latest move by the Netherlands to increase its urgent contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit and highlights the growing fears across the Continent over the possibility. The list of medicines emerged after scanning a total of 2,700 medicines that are “related to Britain”.
The Dutch health department decided on 50 medicines, which are used to treat life-threatening diseases and or vulnerable patients, that have no viable alternatives, according to Mr Bruins.
In his letter, he said the medicines “have few or no adequate alternatives” available on the Dutch market.
But he declined to name the drugs in a bid to prevent any private moves to hoard or stockpile supplies.
He said: “Naming the medicines could lead to stockpiling – also in other EU countries – because this also involves medicines for which few or no alternatives exist, it could lead to speculation.”
The ministry has also revealed that groups, including suppliers and pharmacists, are discussing alternative arrangements to prevent medicine shortages.
The measures could include making them locally on the Continent, importing them from another country or providing temporary exemptions to allow imports from Britain to continue.
In a bid to ease fears, Mr Bruin stated that despite the critical medicines list being drawn up it “does not necessarily mean there will be a shortage”.
The Dutch annually import around €2 billion word of medicines and medical supplies from Britain, which is around 10 percent of all goods shipped from the UK to the Netherlands.
Last month, Dutch hospitals warned that a no-deal Brexit could prove life-threatening for their patients.
If Britain leaves the bloc without a deal, medical supplies, from bandages to pacemakers, will lose their EU certification.
The Dutch Federation of Academic Hospitals (NFU) said: “We foresee great risks for our daily operations if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.
“This varies from medicines, tissues and medical supplies becoming unavailable, to problems with data storage and the registration of doctors. The safety of patients is at risk.”
The Netherlands has been one of the most proactive European countries preparing for a no-deal divorce.
“A no-deal exit is of course worse than with a deal,” Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, said.
“What the Netherlands is doing is trying to ensure that the damage is minimised.”
The European Medicines Agency, the EU’s drug watchdog, will move from London to Amsterdam on March 29 as part of the Brexit process.
Daily Express :: World Feed