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NHS plans alternative transport routes to avoid no-deal medicine shortage

Plans have been drawn up for the use of alternative transport routes and prioritisation of medicines as part of contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit, pharmacists have been told by the NHS.

The government has been reviewing transport routes for all medicines “to maximise the ability for supply to continue unimpeded” after 29 March, according to a letter seen by the Guardian that was was sent out on Thursday.

“In the event of a ‘no-deal’ scenario this additional transport capacity and prioritisation includes prescription-only medicines and pharmacy medicines, general sales list medicines and unlicensed medicines, including specials and investigational medicinal products used in clinical trials and vaccines,” the letter reads.

Details of the correspondence emerged after the Guardian reported that top doctors have urged ministers to reveal the extent of national drug stocks, amid growing evidence patients are stockpiling medication in preparation for a no-deal Brexit.

That issue is also referred to in the letter from Dr Keith Ridge, NHS England’s chief pharmaceutical officer, who states: “Crucially I want to reiterate, it is not helpful or appropriate for anyone to stockpile medicines locally.

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