UK Government holding talks with pharmaceutical companies on stockpiling medicines for ‘no deal’ Brexit

The UK Government is holding talks with pharmaceutical companies about funding the extra costs of stockpiling vital medicines in case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.

Hancock told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that in case of ‘no deal’, “The medicine delivery to the hospitals should continue unhindered…The task is for the pharmaceutical companies to ensure that enough supplies are available to ensure that can happen."

He added, “We are talking to the pharmaceutical industry about what extra costs the government will cover.. and about the extra costs that they might have to incur in that eventuality.”

Elsewhere, according to a leaked Treasury briefing entitled ‘Operation Yellowhammer: No deal contingency planning,’ the Government has asked the Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS), which is responsible for emergency planning, to assess the UK’s contingency preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario. 

The document also states that the Treasury’s objectives are to develop a “communication architecture that can help maintain confidence in the event of contingency plans being triggered,” in particular “for financial services,” whilst raising concerns regarding “aviation and rail access to the EU.”

Separately, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has suggested Whitehall departments would have to “refocus” their spending priorities in case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. 

Hammond said, “In no-deal circumstances we would have to refocus Government priorities so that Government was concentrated on the circumstances that we found ourselves in.”

However, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said, “There is a pot of money available and nobody has been told to cut frontline spending elsewhere.”

In a joint diplomatic note, six EU member state ambassadors to Ireland have said, “The future of Northern Ireland and its relation with Ireland strongly depends on the final Brexit deal between the UK and the EU. With the ongoing negotiations, people are less inclined to say that a united Ireland will not happen in their lifetime.” 

They also say, “A bad deal for Northern Ireland can speed up the process towards a possibly united Ireland. With a bad deal the North can lose both of its most important revenue streams, the all-Island economy and UK as well as EU subsidies.”

In response to reports of EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier saying the UK Government’s Chequers proposals were “dead in the water,” European Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said, “Michel Barnier was very clear expressing the Commission position on Chequers from the very first moment…We identified where there were positive elements and we discussed also the possibility for further discussions to address issues that still create problems.”

Elsewhere, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab reportedly told Michel Barnier that in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, the EU will be forced to ask the Irish Republic to implement checks at the border with Northern Ireland,

The UK media also reports that an emergency European Council summit dealing specifically with Brexit is being scheduled for November 13

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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