Some 50 key medicines may no longer be available for patients in the Netherlands if Britain crashes out of the EU in a no-deal Brexit, Dutch health minister Bruno Bruins has told MPs.
The original list of 2,700 drugs considered to be at risk because of Brexit has now been cut back to 50 after alternative sources were found for most, the minister said.
The 50 drugs on the list are ‘critical’ in that they are used to treat a life-threatening illness, are used by vulnerable groups or have no alternative on the Dutch market.
Nevertheless, even after a hard Brexit, ‘exceptions could be made so that the remaining drugs can still be imported from Britain,’ Bruins said. ‘The fact that a drug is on the list does not mean that there will be an actual shortage.’
Bruins and the Dutch medicines board have refused to make the list public, saying to do so would encourage hoarding and price speculation, both in the Netherlands and in other countries.
Dianda Veldman of the Dutch patients federation said it would be ‘dramatic’ if some drugs were no longer available after March 29. ‘We recommend people always have a two-week supply at home.’
However, people should not hoard drugs because that could mean other patients missing out altogether, she told broadcaster NOS.
The problems will arise because drugs produced in the UK will no longer fall under the same rules and have the same certificates if there is a no-deal Brexit.
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