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Warning over Irish drugs shortage risk in hard Brexit

By Colm Kelpie

A senior executive in the Irish arm of generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceuticals has warned of medicines shortages in the Republic under a hard Brexit. Sandra Gannon, Teva Ireland general manager, warned post-Brexit risks included the potential for lengthy border delays, significant customs costs and divergent regulatory stances leading to increased medicines costs and growing drugs shortages.

"The issue of medicine shortages is another concern," she said.

"Already, 140 medicines are out of stock and we are at risk of further shortages due to Ireland's dependence on the much larger British market.

"Without the ability to batch-share, the small size of the Irish market may make it commercially unsustainable for manufacturers to supply to Ireland.

"That would seriously damage Ireland's interests - both in terms of patient access to medicines and the inevitable rise in cost which would occur."

Although Ireland has a thriving pharmaceutical industry, Ms Gannon said products manufactured in the country are for the high end of the market and are exported elsewhere.

"If you look at the products that are made here, it is products that are patent protected, and high end in price," she said.

"They are exported to mainly US. It could well be the case that products that are made here never actually make the Irish market and they could well be made in some other facility elsewhere.

"So it's not what we make here is used here," she added.

Belfast Telegraph