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Brexit: Patients fear losing sight as government refuses to guarantee essential drugs after no deal


Sufferers with a severe eye situation concern dropping their sight if there’s a no-deal Brexit as a result of the federal government is refusing to say if a vital drug will nonetheless be accessible.

Ministers won’t reveal which medicines are being stockpiled, leaving victims from glaucoma – who require every day drops of a medication imported from the EU – dealing with large worries.

The risk comes after related fears have been raised by diabetics who want insulin.

Theresa May has refused to “assure” the provision of all medicines if there isn’t any deal – and well being organisations have warned of “widespread shortages” except plans are beefed up.

The state of affairs has prompted an outcry from well being consultants and charities, who mentioned sufferers shouldn’t be left with the misery of not understanding if their medicines will likely be accessible.

Chrissie Pepper, coverage supervisor on the Royal Nationwide Institute of Blind Folks, mentioned: “Folks with eye situations need to be secure within the information that they may have the ability to proceed accessing the medicine that may save their sight.

“Throughout this era of uncertainty, the federal government ought to take into account the way it can reassure individuals and ensure they’ve the knowledge they want.”

Niall Dickson, co-chairman of the Brexit Well being Alliance, which brings collectively the NHS, business and sufferers throughout the negotiations, mentioned: “We have to keep away from a place the place sufferers are in any doubt that the medication they want will likely be accessible.

“The federal government wants to offer that assurance and it wants to offer it quickly, regardless of the consequence of the negotiations.”

Two sufferers handled with Ganfort, the frequent therapy for glaucoma, instructed The Unbiased they feared going legally blind as a result of their provides come from Eire and Spain.

Patrick Cosgrove (beneath), a retired former civil servant, submitted a freedom of knowledge (FOI) request asking which medication will likely be stockpiled however was instructed the federal government “doesn’t maintain info”.

The 69-year-old, dwelling in Shropshire, mentioned: “It’s a dereliction of responsibility to place us in a state of affairs the place a tough Brexit is feasible and the provision of medicines may dry up.

“I don’t know in the event that they know or not. In the event that they do know what medicines are being stockpiled, why are they not telling me and reassuring me about this?”

Gill Sellen, a 63-year-old charity employee in Dorset, mentioned: “Eye drops equivalent to Ganfort have saved my sight up to now, however the feeling of virtually 25 years of care being ruined past 29 March 2019 is definitely very actual.

“If I don’t use them, I’ll greater than probably go blind. I might need 30 years forward of me but and it’s a very exhausting factor to ponder.”

The federal government conceded in July that medication and meals have been being stockpiled, to protect towards crashing out of the EU with out an settlement, however controversy has raged ever since.

NHS suppliers, pharmaceutical firms and affected person teams have joined forces to warn that ministers have failed to organize adequately to make sure the circulate of medication.

“We don’t consider that the present medication provide plans will suffice, and we may have widespread shortages if we don’t reply urgently,” their leaked letter mentioned.

Within the Commons, on 31 October, the prime minister refused to “assure the provision of medicines”, saying solely that the federal government was “making contingency preparations ought to no deal happen”.

In a TV interview, Matt Hancock, the well being secretary, mentioned “refrigerated capability” was being constructed to make sure “unhindered flows of medicines to individuals in any state of affairs” – denying he was “panicking”.

However the authorities is refusing to launch any info “about an organization or a particular medication into the general public area” and has compelled drug firms and business our bodies to signal gagging clauses.

Mr Cosgrove mentioned he put in his FOI to the cabinet office as a result of the Ganfort he’s prescribed for his hereditary glaucoma is imported from southern Eire.

He was instructed to submit a second FOI to the Department for Exiting the European Union, which replied that it “doesn’t maintain info related to your request”.

The division warned that an similar request to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) may very well be “topic to exemptions” and directed him to a “technical discover” on no-deal preparations, which says nothing about drug stockpiling.

Mr Cosgrove mentioned he can be “stuffed” if his sight deteriorated to the purpose of authorized blindness, including: “I’d have to surrender driving, which suggests I must promote my home and transfer to a city.”

Requested by The Unbiased, the DHSC refused to say if Ganfort was being stockpiled, including it was “getting ready for a spread of potential outcomes within the unlikely occasion of a no deal”.

 “As a part of our contingency planning we proceed to work carefully with pharmaceutical firms and storage suppliers to make sure the continued provide of all medicines that may very well be affected,” a spokesman mentioned.

Nikki Joule, of Diabetes UK, mentioned it was fearful that solely “some pharmaceutical firms” had mentioned they have been stockpiling insulin for at least 12 weeks, as instructed.

“We’re involved that authorities haven’t communicated their plans concerning the continued provide of insulin within the occasion of a no-deal Brexit, which is inflicting pointless concern for individuals dwelling with diabetes,” she mentioned.


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