As the UK prepares for the end of the transition period with the EU, Novartis remains committed to driving a thriving life sciences sector in the UK and the EU and ensuring patients can continue to benefit from our medicines. It is our priority to make sure patients can continue to access their medicines after the end of the transition period, on 31st December 2020.
We continue to prepare for all scenarios and with this in mind we have maintained increased inventories across our medicines portfolio for both Novartis and Sandoz. We also continue to work with the UK Government and EU authorities, directly and through our trade bodies, to understand the changes in the relationship between the UK and EU that will affect the supply of medicines.
Novartis is taking all the necessary steps it can to maintain the supply of medicines to patients whatever the outcome of the trade talks. However there are many elements of the medicines supply chain that depend on cooperation between industry and government. It is therefore essential that the UK and EU authorities continue to work with life science companies to help them prepare for the end of the transition period and provide the necessary support to minimise disruption to patient access. In particular we continue to work with the UK government and the EU on assessing the implications of the Northern Ireland protocol with a view to minimising any potential patient disruption and ensuring continued access to medicines for patients in Northern Ireland.
A comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between the UK and EU remains the most effective way to ensure patient access to medicines and protect the foundations of the life science sector in both UK and Europe. We strongly believe a future trade agreement between the UK and EU must prioritise the needs of patients, particularly around the supply and safety of medicines, in the UK and across Europe. A future economic relationship should maintain vital areas of regulatory cooperation to minimise disruptions of the supply of medicines to patients. At this important time for the sector, it is crucial that all parties work together in the UK/EU trade negotiations to ensure that the UK can continue to be a global leader in life sciences, delivering for patients worldwide.