Medicines and healthcare supplies – EU exit information
Since 1 January 2021 there have been changes to medicines regulations due to EU Exit and the introduction of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Grace period for medicines regulation in NI
The UK and the EU have agreed a phased process for implementing medicines regulation in Northern Ireland.
More information from the UK Government is available at the following links:
- UK statement following the meeting of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Specialised Committee - 5 November 2020
Further to this on 17 December 2021 the EU Commission announced proposals on medicine supply issues in the context of the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol and published a written statement.
The EU Commission’s proposal includes an extension to the existing grace period for medicines to provide time to put in place long term legislative solutions. The EC has stated that there will be an extension of the Commission's interpretive note that will last until the end of 2022 unless the legislative procedure is finalised sooner.
Work is continuing to take place to make sure the supply of medicines, medical devices and other healthcare supplies are maintained and that the people of Northern Ireland continue to have access to these supplies.
Continued access to medicines
Plans are in place to make sure you continue to get the medicines you need.
You should order prescriptions and take your medicines as normal. There is no need to order extra prescriptions.
Always follow the advice of GPs and other health professionals who prescribe your medicines and medical products.
If you have any concerns, talk to your pharmacist or GP.
GPs have been advised to continue to prescribe medicines and medical products as normal.
Arrangements for supply disruptions
Shortages of medicines and other medical supplies are not uncommon for reasons unconnected to the UK’s exit from the EU.
There are already national and locally tried-and-tested arrangements in place for dealing with any supply disruptions to make sure that you continue to get the medicines and medical supplies you need.
If this happens, you will be prescribed the best alternative to your usual medication, as is normal practice.
This will make sure that your treatment continues as normal.