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Your Medicines Supply From 01 Jan 2020

Your Medicine Supply After the EU Exit

Medicine after BREXIT web

The UK will no longer be part of the European Union in just a few days. At the same time we are in the midst of the second wave of the COVID pandemic.

The government has put in place a range of measures to minimise any disruption to our medicine supplies, including 6-week stockpiling and warehousing of supplies, additional transport options and making changes to regulatory requirements so companies can continue to sell their products in the UK.

Some of these measures were put in place earlier this year (during the COVID-19 pandemic), and have been adapted based on experience and lessons learned in the last nine months.

What if there is a medicine shortage?

You might be offered an alternative medicine

If your medicine is in short supply, you may be offered an alternative to your usual medicine, either a different brand or a different medicine that has the same clinical effect. This is normal NHS practice in the event of the shortage of a particular medicine and most of us have experienced this at some time or another.


It is worth checking with small, independent pharmacies, as they often have more flexibility for sourcing medicines than the bigger 'chain' chemists.

Liver transplant patients

For post transplant patients, maintaining the supply of your usual immunosuppressants is important, and these medicines should not be changed without the prior agreement from your doctor.

While it is unlikely that you will have problems getting your immunosuppressants, if you do have any issues, let the doctor who prescribes them know, rather than enquire with other pharmacists near you.

Hospitals hold immunosuppressant supplies centrally and your prescriber is the best person to help ensure you get the right medicine on time.

What can I do now?

Although we have been assured that there are unlikely to be problems getting medicines after the UK leaves the EU, we do advise that you keep on top of your repeat prescriptions, and order them well in advance.

Don’t leave ordering or collecting them to the last minute. This is good practice at the best of times, but especially now.

  • Order your repeat prescriptions in good time - don’t leave it until the last minute!
  • Keep taking your medicines as normal.
  • Do not order more medicines than normal. If you do, then it may mean that other people won't be able to get their medicines.