Following Parliament’s vote, the risk of UK exiting the EU without a deal is increased and this will be hugely impactful for patients, particularly around the supply and safety of medicines. Divergence from the close regulatory and legal cooperation that exists today between the UK and the EU has far-reaching implications for the way the life sciences sector operates and its ability to develop and deliver medicines for UK patients.
It is Novartis’ priority to ensure patients are able to access the Novartis, Sandoz and Alcon medicines and products they need. Novartis is continuing to execute contingency plans and make all preparations possible to ensure continuity of supply to UK patients of the over 120 million packs of medicines we import to the UK from Europe each year. We are building increased inventories across our portfolio of medicines in the UK.
It is vital that Government makes minimising disruption to the medicines supply the highest priority as it prepares for a potential hard or disorderly Brexit and ensures cooperation over medicines regulation in this event. Given the complex nature of the supply chain, Government needs to implement a comprehensive continuity plan rapidly that includes relevant departments beyond the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS, to ensure medicines can reach patients in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This includes clarity over customs arrangements, both to and from Europe, and to minimise disruption at our borders. It is also imperative that NHS trusts and pharmacists adhere to the Government’s advice not to stockpile medicines so supply can be managed centrally, minimising the risk of medicine shortages across the UK.
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals and eye care. Novartis has leading positions globally in each of these areas. In 2017, the Group achieved net sales of USD 49.1 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.0 billion. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 125,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are sold in approximately 155 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.
In the UK, we employ approximately 1,500 people to serve healthcare needs across the whole of the UK, as well as supporting the global operations of Novartis. In 2017 Novartis invested almost £30million in R&D and is a leading sponsor of clinical trials in the UK. For more information, please visit www.novartis.co.uk.