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Drug manufacturers Sanofi and Novartis have confirmed they are stockpiling medicines in case of a no-deal Brexit.
With less than seven months to go before the UK formally leaves the European Union, no deal is yet in place and a number of contentious issues remain, including matters of trade, tariffs and the maintenance of an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
If the UK does leave without a deal, there will immediately be extra red tape, tariffs and administration involved in transporting drugs to the UK from the continent.
Fearing potential disruption to supplies after March 29th, French firm Sanofi is adding an extra four weeks of stock to give it 14 weeks of supplies. Most of its supplies to the UK currently come to Britain from France via the Channel Tunnel.
Managing director of Sanofi UK Hugo Fry said: "The uncertainty in the Brexit negotiations means that Sanofi has been planning for a 'no deal' scenario.
"Patient safety is our main priority and we have made arrangements for additional warehouse capacity in order to stockpile our products, where global supply allows, in the UK and increase UK-based resource to prepare for any changes to customs or regulatory processes."
He explained that the move is in line with the advice provided by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.
The action follows claims that a range of other goods, including food supplies, are to be stockpiled as a contingency against post-Brexit shortages.
Mr Fry also confirmed that 12 jobs will be lost at Sanofi's Haverhill manufacturing facility in Suffolk by 2020, as many of the quality control checks that currently take place there will now be carried out in other EU countries.
Novartis did not give details of its stockpiling plans, but said it did plan to maintain the size of its current UK workforce of 1,500 after Brexit.
Written by James Puckle
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