With the number of hours until the United Kingdom leaves the European Union now in double digits beyondpositive asked pharmaceutical firms, working in HIV, how prepared they are.

The Brexit bills have been passed and signed into law, and whether we like it or not, the United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union at 23:00 on Friday 31st January 2020, kick-starting an 11 month transition period.

One of the biggest worries regarding Brexit has been how the process will impact on development, manufacturing, supply and stock levels of medicines and medical supplies.

In recent days there has been an increase in enquiries both to charities, and on social media, from people living with HIV about how prepared pharmaceutical firms and HIV clinics actually are for Brexit.

When approached ViiV Healthcare, whose portfolio includes Triumeq, dolutegravir (Tivicay), abacavir and lamivudine, said:

ViiV Healthcare Logo

“We do not foresee any changes to our sources of supply nor product reformulations as a result of Brexit, and our customers can continue to source approved products in the usual way.

Our Brexit contingency plans prepare us for all eventualities within our control. Uncertainty remains about some elements of the new operating environment, particularly the border. Once we have clarity from the Government on post-Brexit arrangements, we will be able to provide more details of any changes you need to be aware of. We hope to maintain an open and honest dialogue with our customers throughout.”

Gilead Sciences, whose portfolio includes bictegravir, Biktarvy, Truvada, Descovy told beyondpositive:

Gilead Logo

“Gilead Sciences, as the manufacturer of a portfolio of medicines used to treat life-threatening diseases, has contingency plans in place to address manufacturing, supply and distribution disruptions.

“We have undertaken extensive planning to prepare for any potential issues that might arise in the context of Brexit, and have worked with the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure that these issues will not affect the continuity of supply of Gilead products. We are confident that our patients and customers will be able to continue to access our medicines with no disruption after 31st January 2020.”

MSD UK, whose portfolio includes raltegravir (Isentress), Doravirine, and Delstrigo commented:

“We are confident that our contingency plans across our business have been implemented effectively and will help to ensure that MSD’s supply will not be negatively impacted as a consequence of Brexit.”

The British HIV Association (BHIVA) signed a joint statement with other HIV medical bodies stating that:

“Companies have been asked to stock at least six additional weeks supply, over and above their business as usual stocks.

We are confident this extra stock will allow usual duration prescriptions for everyone, even if there are short-term supply issues.

“Clinicians do not need to issue longer, or earlier than usual, prescriptions and patients should be reassured that there is no need for concern about the supply of their medication and therefore no need to stockpile. Changes to predicted use of drugs could risk continuity of supply.

“As is normal current practice, patients should be advised to ensure they have a buffer supply of medication to last one month beyond their next clinic appointment and to ensure their appointment is booked to reflect this.”

Are you worried about the impact of Brexit on supply of your medications? Have you already seen this have a knock on impact in other areas outside HIV? Leave a comment below, or get in touch via our contact page.

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