New medicine safety initiative goes live across the UK and Europe

Published: 8-Feb-2019

The ABPI raises concerns about the safety of the UK's medicines in a ‘no deal’ Brexit

On 9 February a new European initiative to ensure the authenticity of the medicines supply chain will go live. However, a ‘no deal’ Brexit would bring about uncertainty of the future of the scheme in the UK.

The new technology means that from production line to the patient, every person and organisation the medication has touched can verify and authenticate the pack.

As well as better supply chain security, the new system will also see new safety features on packs of medicine, to make tampering more evident.

The Falsified Medicines Directive, which is the EU regulation that makes this initiative possible, has been funded by and set up in the UK over the past two years. The potential of a ‘no deal’ Brexit would call into question the legitimacy of the legislation in the UK.

Without any ruling on Brexit, the UK will drop out of the new system and potentially expose patients to the dangers of fake or tampered with medicine.

Mike Thompson, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said: “‘No deal’ is not in the interest of the NHS or its patients. Not being part of the safest medicines system in the world, one that the UK has helped design and build – and which provides protection against fake medicines – makes no sense. Being part of a system that keeps them safe is the minimum that UK patients should expect.”

Questions also remain around the UK’s continued access to other important European databases, such as; the clinical trials database and the system which flags medicine safety alerts.

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