Breaking the Chain

     I have just been compiling my medication for the week ahead, into my medication dispensing boxes; known as dosset boxes.  Today, I am reflecting, with not undue concern, about the risk Brexit places upon the supply chain for my medication.

     One aspect that is of major concern for me, on the subject of Brexit, is that of medications supply.  My Parkinson’s medication is now on the list of medicines that are officially at risk of being subject to potential supply problems following Brexit; more likely if there is a ‘no deal’ scenario.

     The medicines are made in the UK but by a European manufacturer, and patent owner.  After Brexit, we will be outside of the EU and so would have to buy from this EU company just like any non-EU country does currently.  With a ‘no deal’ scenario, that lowers our priority; for currently my understanding is that the EU companies supply EU countries as their first order of priority.

     My medical teams say that Brexit, especially with a ‘no deal’, may impact access to my medication.  Not scaremongering; just factual risk scenario based upon quantifiable legal, structural and procedural changes.  Indeed, I have already received letters from the NHS advising me that the supply of my key Parkinson’s medication is now classed at ‘at risk’.

     A delay in supply would prove genuinely disastrous for me.  I have tried other medication and I’m now on the ‘gold standard’ medication; given that other medications are not effective in treating my symptoms as well as my current medications do.  My own medical team have confirmed that they share my concern, in spite of the Government’s ‘no need to worry’ line.  

   My reaction is rational.  I am not scaremongering or reacting to scaremongering.  My current medication is what literally enables me to walk, talk and function. I have to take medication every 3 hours.  Without it, Parkinson’s effectively creates what I call ‘creeping paralysis’.  If you were me, no matter your political views, I suspect you would also feel rather unsettled about this situation.

     Like hundreds of thousands of people across the UK, if not millions, I am dependent on medication.  To have been through the past three years, or so, of watching the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement negotiations play out, has been a worrying time.  Now, a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario seems increasingly likely by 31st October; the new deadline for the UK to leave the EU.

     As a rational thinking person, I am incredibly concerned about the future of the supply of medication to the UK. Time will tell but evidence increasingly suggests that change will be inevitable.

     Consequences are inevitable.

   Are you dependent on medication for the management of your health?  How do you feel about the potential risks of supply problems for vital medication?  How might such a risk affect you, were it to happen?

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2019.

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