Tánaiste: No medicines on risk list but Govt signing off 'mega-bill' in case of no-deal Brexit

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said there are no medicines at risk of not being supplied after March 29 in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

He told RTE’s Morning Ireland that the Government will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure there is no delay in supply.

However, he warned the public and pharmacists not to stockpile medicines as stockpiling itself “sometimes causes problems with supply”.

In the long term Ireland is going to have to move away from reliance on UK medicines, to source medicines elsewhere, he said.

Mr Coveney said: “That contingency work has been going on for many months, the pharmaceutical industry has been preparing for this, as has the Department of Health and the HSE.

“There aren't any medicines on any risk list in terms of not being supplied after March, we will continue to monitor that very closely to make sure there is no delay in supply.”

Mr Coveney said he was confident that there are between 8-12 weeks of supply of virtually all medicines in Ireland “and we're putting new supply streams in place to make sure we can take account of a no-deal Brexit if it happens.”

He said that he thinks a no-deal Brexit will be avoided. “We are signing off today the Omnibus piece of legislation - 16 pieces of legislation across nine departments, all in one mega-bill.

“This is the legislative response, to protect Irish citizens and the Irish economy, in context of no-deal Brexit, which I still don't believe will happen, but we have to prepare for it.

“This has to be passed by March 29th, opposition and committees all briefed. We will bring it to second stage next week, committee stage the following week, then move to the Seanad after that.

“This is the legislative response to protect Irish citizens and economy, just in case.

“While we have a huge amount of contingency planning in place, I wouldn't like to give the impression that we can easily manage a no-deal Brexit - if it were to happen it would put huge strain on the Irish economy and many sectors that are vulnerable particularly around agriculture, the food industry and fishing and some areas.

“We are doing everything we physically can to ensure that we prepare as best we can.”

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