AstraZeneca said that it is increasing stockpiles of some medicines by around 20 percent as it prepares for potential issues if the UK exits the EU without reaching a deal. The company's move relates to drugs manufactured in the UK for export to Europe, and vice versa.
Juliette White, AstraZeneca's head of global external manufacturing, noted that the decision to create the "safety net" would increase the amount of finished medicines available to pharmacies and hospitals. "We always have an additional amount of medicines available. We are increasing that by about 20 percent," White commented.
The company explained that it has already spent 40 million pounds ($52.5 million) in preparation of a "no deal" Brexit scenario. The drugmaker said it also aims to duplicate operations in the UK and EU, while a team of more than 30 personnel has been tasked with preparing for Brexit. Merck & Co. said earlier this year that it was making similar preparations to prevent supply disruptions.
The news comes after the European Medicines Agency released the results of a survey earlier this month suggesting that some drugmakers have failed to take sufficient action to ensure that marketing authorisations for their products remain valid following the UK's exit from the EU. The regulator had previously issued guidance to help companies prepare for Brexit.
Meanwhile, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry chief executive Mike Thompson announced last month that companies are being forced to divert funds from other areas to prepare for potential supply disruptions following Brexit due to the uncertain regulatory environment. The NHS also recently disclosed that it was making contingency plans in this regard.
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