The government is working closely with the NHS and suppliers to help to ensure medicines and medical products continue to be available for patients if there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
Get prescriptions as normal
Please keep ordering your repeat prescriptions and taking your medicines as normal. It is unnecessary to change how you order and take your medicines.
It's important you don't ask for more medicines than you normally need, doing so risks pressure on availability of medicines for other people.
What the goverment is doing
The government has put in place contingency measures to help ensure medicines continue to be available. These include:
Buffer stocks in the UK
The government has recommended that suppliers of medicines build up at least 6 weeks' extra stocks above their usual buffer stock levels in preparation for Brexit on 31 October 2019. It has secured additional warehouse capacity for the stockpiled medicines. These stocks will continue to be replenished when used.
It is not helpful or appropriate for anyone to create their own personal supply of medicines at home as this risks pressure on availability of medicines.
Transport priority for medicines
The government is buying extra space on ferries on which all medicines and medical products will be prioritised for import to the UK. It is buying an express freight service to deliver medical products where there is an urgent need.
Preparing medicines suppliers
The government is working with medicine suppliers to improve readiness for new border arrangements and has encouraged re-routing how medicines enter the country.
The government is also making sure that medicines, devices and clinical trials licensed or tested in the EU can continue to be used in the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, by amending regulations.
Working to ensure you receive medicines and medical products
Occasionally, the NHS does experience temporary disruption to supply of some medicines. The NHS has tried-and-tested ways of making sure you get your medicines and medical products, even under difficult circumstances.
In the unlikely event your medicine is temporarily unavailable, the NHS will work with you to prescribe the best alternative. This could typically be a different brand of medicine or perhaps lower strength medicines to make up the same dose.
On rare occasions it may mean a different medicine to do the same thing, but you will make the decision with your prescriber who will be provided with all the necessary information on how best to do this. This will ensure your treatment continues as normal. The NHS, through your local GP surgery, pharmacy and/or hospital, will help you to stay informed if there are any changes.
If you are concerned, please speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
The NHS and the government are also working with organisations running clinical trials to ensure research continues as normal in the coming months. If you are taking part in a clinical trial, please speak with the NHS organisation that is hosting the trial if you have any concerns.
For further information, you can also read NHS England's advice for healthcare staff - Frequently asked questions about patients’ access to medicines after Brexit.
Last updated: 17 September 2019
Page last reviewed: 28 February 2019
Next review due: 28 February 2022