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10 June 2020

Epilepsy medication and stockpiling issues

The BBC yesterday (Tuesday 9 June 2020) carried a report highlighting concerns that stockpiles of some medications in the UK have been exhausted. There are worries that this could mean there will not be time to replenish these stocks in case the government fails to strike a trade deal with the European Union at the end of the year.

The report  said that some stockpiles had been used up due to the current Covid-19 crisis.

The report does not specify which medications are affected and we have not been made aware of any potential problems around epilepsy medications. We are in contact with the Department of Health and Social Care’s medicines supply team and will bring you more news as soon as we hear back.

We have received the following statement from Richard Torbett, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry :

"Despite the huge pressures of Covid-19, companies have worked around the clock to make sure medicine supply chains have held up. With this pressure likely to continue over the coming months, the pandemic has reinforced why it is essential that the UK and EU reach a deal on their future relationship.

“In the meantime, our members will continue to work closely with Government to put detailed plans in place, but not everything is in the gift of industry. Stockpiling is one element; having alternative supply routes and making sure that goods can continue to flow uninterrupted across borders is also critical.

"Our members are also awaiting promised guidance from Government about what the Northern Ireland protocol will mean in practice. This is essential in supporting companies to get medicines to patients in Northern Ireland from January 2021."

We will be contacting individual pharma companies for updates on supplies of their epilepsy medications which we will share here, on our website.