Belfast Telegraph

Gove Brexit 'threat' over supply of medicines to Ireland is slammed

Michael Gove
Michael Gove

By Eilish O'Regan

Claims that the UK will use the continued post-Brexit supply of medicines to the Republic as "leverage" if negotiations on a deal break down were condemned as "appalling" by the Irish body representing drugs companies yesterday.

The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) was responding to newspaper reports that Michael Gove, the Conservative Cabinet minister in charge of no-deal Brexit preparations, has listed the fact that 60% of medicines for the Republic come through the UK among a series of potential issues to be used in talks.

The IPHA said: "The industry has not been made aware of reported plans by the UK side to use the supply of medicines to patients as 'leverage' in Brexit negotiations. That move, if true, would be appalling. Patients should not be used as pawns in the Brexit process - full stop and no exceptions.

"The industry has worked very closely with the Irish authorities in planning for continuity of care, whatever the outcome of Brexit. We are satisfied that both the industry and the State are prioritising the interests of Irish patients."

Meanwhile, Irish Health Minister Simon Harris has published legislation which will allow people from Northern Ireland, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, to be reimbursed for the cost of necessary medical care incurred while abroad in an EU or EEA Member State, or Switzerland.

The Health and Childcare Support (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2019 is in line with the commitments in the Good Friday Agreement.

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