Scots urged not to stockpile medication in run-up to Brexit

Scotland’s chief medical officer has warned shortages of medicines “may occur” in the wake of a no-deal Brexit but said people should not stockpile drugs.

Dr Catherine Calderwood said members of the public – as well as GPs, pharmacies and hospitals – should not try to build up their own supply of medication.

She issued the advice in a letter sent to NHS board chief executives, local authority leaders and the leaders of integration authorities – which bring health and care services together.

Dr Calderwood sent the letter along with the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Rose Marie Parr to outline efforts from the Scottish Government together with other administrations to deal with any shortfall in drugs that may arise.

“Additional steps have now been taken to prepare for the risk that a no-deal exit will lead to more shortages than are normally experienced,” they said.

The Chief Medical Officer and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer stressed pharmaceutical firms had built up their own stockpiles of some medicines, adding that across the UK had built up a supply of some medical devices.

“Arrangements are also being made to transport into the UK, including by air, items that cannot be stockpiled,” they said.

The letter also stressed if Brexit led to delays of goods at the UK border “medical supplies will be given priority for entry into the UK”.

They stated: “Members of the public, GPs, community pharmacies and hospitals should not stockpile.

“Shortages may occur but the NHS will manage the situation and if necessary provide suitable alternatives or other treatment while supply is restored to normal levels.”

The Chief Medical Officer and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer added: “Prescribers do not need to anything new at this moment in time. Members of the public, GPs, community pharmacies and hospitals should not stockpile medicines.”

Despite this Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “My constituents are worried that they will not get their medicine.”

He added: “Any Brexit will be bad for our NHS, whether it be by crashing out without a deal or cutting off the precious supply of European workers who support patients in our health service.

“This has to go back to the people for a People’s Vote, lives are at stake.”