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Medicine shortages ‘already happening’ as No Deal nears

MANY may believe reports of potential medicine shortages post-Brexit are ‘scaremongering’ but the Herald can reveal there are already shortages of vital drugs right here in the county.
There are real fears lives may be put at risk over delays in perishable medicines such as insulin if there’s a no-deal Brexit, which could spoil if there are border delays. Even now, though, many common but vital drugs are already in short supply here in Fermanagh.
Local pharmacist Paul Hughes said the reduction in supply actually started soon after the referendum result, but the situation had become much worse in recent months, causing “sheer frustration” for both the pharmacy and its customers.
“We’ve had terrible problems with medicine supply,” he told the Herald. “It’s the medicines you would be using every day, and every single day there are shortages.”
Mr Hughes said there were a number of potential reasons for the shortages, all related to Brexit, such as stockpiling by both manufacturers and health bodies, or uncertainty in the market. He added the price of medication was also fluctuating wildly, due to the issues with supply and demand.
“It all started when Brexit was announced, it has just got proportionately worse,” he said. “We have patients coming in here who were getting the same medication week in and week out, and we’re not able to get routine medicines for them.”
Mr Hughes said pharmacists across the North had been urged not to stockpile their own supplies and had been reassured that after Brexit the Department of Health would ensure the supply chain wasn’t broken.
Each month a list is published of the drugs in short supply. In July there were 14 types of medication on the list, including anti-depressants, skin treatments, asthma medication, and blood pressure drugs.
With a no-deal Brexit becoming increasingly likely, patients are becoming increasingly concerned.
“I have to take blood pressure tablets every day so not being able to get them is a scary thought,” one worried woman told the Herald. “I’m not sure what I will do if I’m told I can’t get my tablet.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA