Medicines should be removed from the scope of the Protocol – Beattie

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Medicines should be removed from the scope of the Protocol – Beattie

Commenting on the latest problems highlighted by the inclusion of medicines in the Protocol, Ulster Unionist Party leader, Doug Beattie MC MLA, said:

“Medicines should never have been included in the Protocol in the first place and the EU`s proposals were not a long-term solution. We said that from the very start and as part of our Assembly election manifesto, stated that they should be ‘removed from the scope of the Protocol.’


“Whilst some politicians claimed that medicines had been sorted, the opposite is the case. Patients in Northern Ireland could be at risk of losing out from equitable access to new and innovative drugs that become available for patients across the rest of the UK. Given the ongoing progress that is being made with new cancer drugs, new cancer treatments in Northern Ireland could be especially vulnerable.  


“The issue was highlighted once again by my colleague, the former Health Minister Robin Swann, just before ministers were removed from office in October. Steve Aiken MLA asked the Health Minister ‘for an update on the ongoing divergence issues related to medicines and the Northern Ireland Protocol.


As part of his response, Robin stated, ‘there remain issues associated with the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol for medicines that risk divergence between Northern Ireland and Great Britain’ andin relation to Centrally Authorised Products, differences in regulatory approval timelines and authorisation conditions between Northern Ireland and Great Britain are increasing in frequency and complexity. This is placing at risk my Department’s long standing policy link with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), for the managed entry of new medicines in Northern Ireland.’


“The risks are very real and need urgently addressed. The EU needs to recognise the problems created by the inclusion of medicines in the Protocol. The need for medicines used in Northern Ireland to have FMD compliance should be removed.


“In addition the UK and EU also urgently need to support a parallel system between MHRA and EMA for Centrally Authorised Products in order to ensure equitable access to medicines for patients in Northern Ireland. The best solution remains that medicines should be removed from the scope of the Protocol completely. The people of Northern Ireland should have access to the same medicines as any other part of the United Kingdom.


“It’s more important than ever that concerns on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland are being raised via the UK Cabinet Office in the current negotiations. The loss of an interim Health Minister makes that task even more difficult with no voice at the table.”