UK drugs stockpile eroded by coronavirus ahead of Brexit - (Financial Times via NewsPoints Desk)

  • The UK government is struggling to rebuild stockpiles of drugs eroded by the COVID-19 pandemic amid concerns that a "no-deal" Brexit will jeopardise medicine supplies just as a second coronavirus wave hits the country, reported The Financial Times.

  • Health secretary Matt Hancock has accepted the need to finalise a formal plan to rebuild a six-week stockpile of drugs, but senior Whitehall officials said that the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains and stockpiles was causing serious worry.

  • A spokesperson said the government was in regular contact with industry and partners to ensure supplies in "all scenarios" in the months ahead as it continues negotiations with the EU.

  • "Any responsible government has a duty to prepare for all scenarios and robust contingency planning continues in line with our work to avoid a second peak of coronavirus infections," the spokesperson added.

  • Still, the combination of depleted stockpiles during COVID-19, disruptions to international production of generic drugs in India and China, and the risks of a second wave interrupting global supplies this year have raised "huge concern" in the top levels of the health department, the Whitehall official said.

  • "Industry is saying that all last autumn's stock has run down during COVID-19 and the department now thinks it looks doubtful stockpiling can be industry-led, as per last time, so the government is looking at its own options too," the official added.

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