EU offers solution to ensure medicine supply from Great Britain to NI

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The European Commission put forward proposals to ensure timely supply of medicines to Northern Ireland (NI) from the rest of the United Kingdom (UK), announced officials.

“The Commission is today proposing a bespoke arrangement for the supply of medicines to Northern Ireland. It means that everyone in Northern Ireland will have access to the same medicines at the same time as elsewhere in the UK, while ensuring that the integrity of the EU Single Market is protected,” said Maros Sefcovic, Vice-president of the European Commission and co-chair of the EU-UK Joint Committee and Partnership Council.

Not only generic medicines, such as paracetamol, but also life-saving medicines such as cancer treatment, are included, Xinhua news agency quoted Sefcovic as saying at a press conference.

In line with the proposals, if a new medicine has been authorised in the UK, but not yet in the EU, it will be temporarily supplied to patients in Northern Ireland pending authorisation in the EU, European Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides told the same press conference.

Those temporary authorizations should be time-limited and end as soon as the Commission has granted the authorisation to market the medicine, she added.

The European Commission’s proposals still need to be sent to the European Parliament and the Council for examination and endorsement.

The UK’s departure from the EU, also called Brexit, led to a complicated situation on the Island of Ireland. To avoid a hard border on the island, the UK’s Northern Ireland was integrated into the EU Single Market, under the Protocol of Ireland/Northern Ireland.

Goods leaving Great Britain to enter Northern Ireland, including medicine, are subjected to the EU Single Market’s custom duties and inspections, creating delays and effectively cutting out supplies in Northern Ireland.

20211218-065643

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