No deal Brexit causing panic for people with diabetes

Our Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West, Christine Jardine, wrote passionately in August about the worry facing many about provision of life-saving medicines in the case of a hard Brexit.

Today she has backed charities’ calls for the Government to provide urgent information on how supplies of life saving drugs, like insulin, will be safeguarded if the UK crashes out of the EU.

Christine says:

This goes far beyond politics. This is about people’s lives.

It is unimaginable that this Tory Government is prepared to let people suffer the anxiety of not knowing how or even whether they will be able to get the medicines they need.

The Conservatives have created a Brexit bourach. We need clarity, and the only way is to go back to the people.

Diabetes UK and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) have today put out a joint press release on their concerns. They say:

With just a matter of weeks between now and 29th March and, despite reaching out directly to the Department of Health and Social Care in December, we still have not seen the concrete detail needed to reassure us – or people with diabetes – that the UK Government’s plans are robust enough to guarantee no impact on insulin and medicine supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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  • Where the hell do you get your information from .My wife has diabetes & the last thing on her mind is how Brexit will affect her insulin supplies . This is another scare story designed to cause unnecessary concern amongst diabetics.

  • You’d better get writing an indignant letter to Diabetes UK and Juvenile Diabetes’ Research Foundation, as well, David.

    What on earth are they thinking of? How disgraceful! They will never be forgiven: to have a different opinión to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Does human wickedness ever end?

    Good your wife isn’t worrying, Terry; but these diabetes’ bodies are. That’s what they are there for. To raise concerns, as are MPs.

  • Leaving this aside for one moment, just watched Layla Moran on Sky News, rather impressive. I had thought to vote for Jo Swinson in the coming leadership election, if only because she could best regain our lost Scottish vote, but I am now wondering whether Layla Morans presentation, style and insistence on being heard are more important and I should re think my option. Has she any peccadillos the media and Tories could throw at her?

  • nigel hunter 14th Feb '19 - 10:38am

    Concerns will have to be raised to ensure the supplies are available.,It will be too late after the event. Sadly Brexit is bringing a lot of worms to the surface.

  • Are YOU in any way an expert in the field, Mr Raw?

  • Innocent Bystander 14th Feb '19 - 10:53am

    I very rarely agree with David Raw, but may make an exception here. Looking at Diabetes UK they seem to be a fund raising charity and support group. Very worthy indeed and all credit it to them but they seem not to have any responsibility for the acquisition of pharmaceuticals.

  • Many “experts” certainly are concerned and rightly so.

    Nonetheless, Mr Raw, they will never be forgiven for being less sanguine than the senior people at the ERI.

  • William Fowler 14th Feb '19 - 1:22pm

    Rest assured that Mrs May will be first in line to give up her own supplies in favour of any children suffering…

  • Sanofi – along with other drug companies, such as AstraZeneca – is worried about transport delays caused by Brexit, as most supplies have to cross the Channel.

    A no-deal Brexit could threaten the free flow of goods, particularly as there will be rigorous regulations in place that will necessitate the retesting of drugs shipped across borders in the absence of an agreed trading arrangement.
    Hugo Fry, managing director of Sanofi’s UK operation, reportedly said the group had started to make arrangements for additional warehouse capacity to store stocks of its products and “increase UK-based resource to prepare for any changes to customs or regulatory processes.”

    Sanofi has also stated that a hard-Brexit scenario will make its current quality control set-up impossible, as it sends batches of drugs back and forth across the channel, while job losses among the 1,800-strong UK workforce are very likely.Sanofi – along with other drug companies, such as AstraZeneca – is worried about transport delays caused by Brexit, as most supplies have to cross the Channel.

    A no-deal Brexit could threaten the free flow of goods, particularly as there will be rigorous regulations in place that will necessitate the retesting of drugs shipped across borders in the absence of an agreed trading arrangement.

    Reading this article it suggests if drugs can safely be stored they will be, I’m unsure what you can do with drugs with a short shelf live, that may be a serious issue, if delays become chronic. insulin appears to usable for up to two years after manufacture, given adequate facilities this should therefore not be an issue. There will of cause be a cost for storing extra drugs, storage doesn’t comer cheap, neither does holding excess inventory; I would expect the NHS to be the one that picks up that cost.

  • Michael Maybridge 14th Feb '19 - 1:27pm

    Surely the ERI and Diabetes UK can both be right? There might be any number of reasons why we can be confident that immunosuppressant drugs will still be available after Brexit that don’t apply to insulin (and no, I’m no kind of expert in the field). Diabetes UK may not be directly involved in procurement, but they are, as I understand it, this country’s foremost advocacy group for people with the condition. It would be quite a claim to suggest that they are deliberately stirring up uncertainty among those they serve if there aren’t even legitimate questions to be asked. After all, if the Government does have foolproof contingency plans in place it could put an end to any concern by telling people what they are!

  • John Marriott 14th Feb '19 - 1:32pm

    Oh, please, please, please, can we move away from ‘Project Fear’? OK, the sky could fall in on 30th March. In fact, we could theoretically be invaded by aliens, although Trump already thinks his country has, but not from outer space. This kind of stuff gets us nowhere. My advice to those who wish to use such scare tactics is the same as Clement Attlee famously gave to his Labour colleague, Harold Laski, back in the 1940s; “ a period of silence on your part would be welcome”.

  • John,

    Brexit is doing much harm to this country. Shouting Project Fear may make you feel better, but the reality is bad things are happening, bad things will happen and Brexit is a major cause of that. As Britain gets poorer hard choices will be made and many of those you care most for will be the first to feel the pain. A hard Brexit will bring on the pain rapidly, a softer one more gradually but both will be painful. i will leave you with a thought, when Nissan tell Sunderland the next car model they rely on won’t be built there and neither will the next, will telling them tis Project Fear make them feel better, will we will all rally round t ensure you have a future. I fear the answer will be silence as no one wants to address the problem, Sunderland will be forgotten as will whole regions of the UK.

  • Perhaps it is by interested parties raising concerns that disaster will be avoided. Should they stay quiet and cross their fingers? If they do, and there are problems with the supply of essential drugs after Brexit, Diabetes sufferers might reasonably ask why a charity dedicated to promoting their interests said nothing.

    This is the quote – “Today she has backed charities’ calls for the Government to provide urgent information on how supplies of life saving drugs, like insulin, will be safeguarded if the UK crashes out of the EU”. Does anyone seriously think that question is unreasonable?

  • John Marriott 14th Feb '19 - 2:21pm

    Our country is divided enough at the moment. Having another binary choice referendum will do nothing to heal this divide. That would appear to be what is currently being advocated. Let’s assume it’s Brexit with a deal v No Brexit (aka Remain). As a former rugby player I’m no shrinking violet; I quite enjoy a good argument. However, does anyone honestly think that Leavers are just simply going to roll over having seen the error of their ways?

    What Adrian Chiles reported in a recent newspaper article was that a surprising number of Leavers and Remainers seemed prepared to compromise. It’s these people, as opposed to the zealots on both extremes of the argument, who might decide the issue.

    If we are to be asked to vote again, please let us have something better than a binary choice. On several threads I have suggested what has been christened a ‘Preferendum’, where voters were invited to indicate a preference between at least three options, the obvious ones being : Brexit with a deal / Brexit without a deal / Remain. If no option passed the 50% threshold, the second preferences from the least popular option could be applied so that one option came on top.

    I am a person, who would find it hard not to vote to remain under most circumstances, if invited again to make a choice. I am not happy with the direction of travel of the EU towards ever closer integration and I would want us to retain our position in this area. I understand the fact that, in terms of trade alone, Britannia no longer rules the waves. However, I know on which side my bread is buttered, and, if not British butter, that would be Irish or Danish rather than New Zealand butter. So, my choice would be 1. Remain 2. Brexit with a deal and 3. Brexit with no Deal. If a deal emerges over the next month or so, be it Norway Plus, Common Market 2.0 or even some form of May Deal, I could live with that – and I reckon the majority of the adult population could as well.

  • If we are to have another referendum. It should be on the terms that remainers were screaming about after the last referendum.

    It has to require a minimum turnout and super majority of 65%, if it fails to get this, then Brexit goes ahead as per the previous referendum result, leaving the EU Single Market and Customs Union.

    After all, Remainers were screaming last time that the result was undemocratic, so you must stand by your principles and stick with what you were advocating last time. Yo can’t keep flip flopping and changing the rules when it suits you.
    That’s what got you into this mess in the first place, when the Liberal Democrats were advocates of an EU referendum and even walked out of parliament in protest when they didnt get one

  • chris moore 14th Feb '19 - 4:26pm

    I have a rare condition that isn’t treated in my country of residence.

    I travel to the UK for regular treatment. I have been told that there could be problems in supply post-Brexit – supply can’t currently be guaranteed; there is uncertainty. Hence I should bring forward my current round of treatment.

    This seems to me to be prudent.

    Likewise, my oldest surviving relative is dependent on a range of drugs for two separate conditions. If these drugs are unavailable, she would die very rapidly. She has therefore been told that she must stockpile a forward supply, just in case.

    Again, this is entirely prudent.

    A wide range of bodies and individual doctors have raised concerns. Raising concerns before Brexit seems to me to be entirely the right thing to do. Christine Jardine’s statement is unexceptional. It’s precisely the sort of issue MPs should take on.

    I am against Brexit and even more so a no-deal Brexit. But I do no think that temporary logistical problems post-Brexit are, in themselves, an argument against Brexit. They are what they are: temporary logistical problems, though with potential consequences in the medical field.

    Both the UK and EU have said they will waive customs’ regulations for a period, post a no-deal Brexit. this should alleviate initial problems.

    Nonetheless, diabetes and other bodies and doctors are damn right to warn of unforeseen consequences. The NHS is not immune to disruption.

  • Bernard Aris 14th Feb '19 - 5:24pm

    I just refer everybody to what I wrote on LDV about how Brexit is DISRUPTING THE EXISTING INTERNATIIONAL NETWORK OF
    *) Certification for (continental) UK countries of medicines and medical appliances
    *) Delivery of nuclear particles for cancer treatment to UK patients
    *) the role and importance of the UK as a “hub” in the importation and export (to the continental EU countries) of many medicines imported from abroad (99% of all generic and cheap household medicines are produced in China, not always using sound ingredients);

    And talking abou “Project Fear”;
    *) I’m mainly basing my information on news reports by reputable, trustworthy , longstanding DUTCH news organizations.
    The Dutch do’n’t need to be scared (except of course by a Muppet blocking our foreign minister doing his job: ) about Brexit; DUTCH MEDIA and/or POLITICIANS HAVE NO INTEREST OR URGE TO SCARE THEIR PUBLIC.

    So I’m no part of any “Project Fear” media propaganda or fake news.

  • May I respectfully point out that insulin is NOT a drug but a hormone that the normal human body produces, unless of course you have type 1 diabetes. Drugs are used in type 2 diabetes generally to help the human body produce its own insulin, although insulin injections can also be used in type 2 if necessary.

  • As for Mrs May missing from the debate. I’m hearing rumours that she is now ensconced in the ‘bunker’ under No.10 moving imaginary battalions of those supporting ‘Her Deal’ around a map of Europe.

  • chris moore 15th Feb '19 - 8:42am

    @ David Raw,

    OK, David, sometimes debate on here gets unnecessarily heated. I note I’ve been a contributor to that this time. You’re a strong poster, with your heart in the right place. Good luck to you.

    I’m glad that Edinburgh Royal Infirmary has got guaranteed supply of your immuno-suppressant drugs. And sorry to hear of your serious condition; mine is not life-threatening.

    Sadly, I’m no longer registered with the NHS. I believe I could get treatment under the European Health Passport (I’m a user of the Basque public health system). I suspect though that this would be a bureaucratic paper chase, so have opted to pay through my private Spainsh health insurance, which covers a % of UK costs.

    My mother’s treatment is NHS.

    I certainly agree politicians must be very careful when raising this issue, not to exaggerate.

    I also think the headline on the article is misleading. “No-Deal Brexit Causing Panic……
    “Concern” would be more accurate.

  • The problems come from our disastrous government. There is still no policy to deal with the issues of leaving the European Union in spite of all the talk and huffing and puffing. We have also had laid bare the fact that parliamentment sees intensif as a discussion group while whoever is appointed Prime Minister do as they please.
    The potential problems in this as many other areas concern the disruption of supply chains. There was a clear explanation of this a few days ago on Channel 4 News. Shortages do not usually mean absence of something, but not having enough at the right time. I remember my aunt, who worked in a shop, talking of things being “under the counter”.
    I am very enthusiastic about staying in the real European Union, but the problems we are facing are not caused by leaving the EU but by the horrendous irresponsibility of leaving everything to the last minute so as to face the country with a no choice situation.

  • The problem people have with the “Don’t scare monger” spiel is that if a poster had written the history of the government’s Brexit campaign two and a half years ago the same posters would be screaming at them “Impossible, don’t scare monger”. The government have failed at every turn, to worry that they will make a total pigs ear of a no deal Brexit isn’t “Scare mongering” it is a statement of the “Bleeding obvious”. If you continue to believe they will cope fine, but that does go against every action to date, the only thing they are consistent in is their ineptitude.

  • Yes those of us who have chronic diseases and are undergoing treatment for life long conditions ade fully entitled to raise our concerns without rancour if we are told by reaponsible bodies that our supplies are being threatened. Some people on here would rather we suffered or better still for them did nof exist as these people couldn’t care less.

  • Marc,
    We are all affected by Brexit. I don’t believe any posters on this site don’t care. I just think that some can’t accept their will be problems because by voting Brexit they will have caused them and others don’t want to contemplate the inepitutude of the government because that inepituted will have a deverstating impact on their lives. The problem is no matter how hard we try to rationalise the current situation, you can’t rationalise away the stupidity of Brexit or the crass incompedence of the government.

  • Peter Hirst 16th Feb '19 - 2:13pm

    Taking a no deal Brexit off the table seems more and more like a humanitarian action, regardless of your views on Brexit. Rescinding Article 50 fits into the same category if we are being forced into this disaster. Emergency action is required in emergencies and a no deal is one of the clearest modern examples of this.

  • Flybmi has just gone bust, but fear not my brave Brexiteer their local MP is on it, err no he isn’t twittering about sovereignty innit

  • Peter Martin 16th Feb '19 - 9:04pm

    Look, we don’t need to be in the EU to have secure insulin supplies.

    Australia and NZ don’t seem to have a problem. Where do they get theirs from? I’m sure they’ll tell us if we ask them.

    As Terry said in the first comment ” this is another scare story designed to cause unnecessary concern amongst diabetics.”

  • Well they won’t be flying in drugs on flybmi will they Peter.Tick, tock the consequences of the Brexit vote keep piling up.

  • Peter Watson 17th Feb '19 - 10:01am

    @frankie “Well they won’t be flying in drugs on flybmi will they Peter.Tick, tock the consequences of the Brexit vote keep piling up.”
    Celebrating every bit of bad news and enjoying every job loss or health fear as a welcome slap in the face for Brexit looks terrible. I sometimes wonder if you are an undercover Brexiteer with a cunning plan to alienate and dissuade those waverers who might swap to the Remain cause.
    It is a tactic that has failed the Remain campaign from the start. Ridiculing Brexiteers as mad unicorn chasers looks ridiculous itself as a response to polite and thoughtful posts by Peter Martin and Glenn in much the same way that in 2016 depicting Brexiteers as old uneducated racists fell flat whenever somebody like Gisela Stewart spoke.
    The chaos at the moment can be spun by opponents of the EU as evidence that getting out is difficult (made worse by incompetent and/or evil politicians) rather than evidence that being outside the EU is a bad thing, so it should not be assumed that a second referendum would be a shoo-in for Remain. And even if Remain did win such a referendum the country looks like it will still be very divided and angry.
    Make bad news sound like bad news, make a positive case for EU membership, and address the genuine reasons so many people thought that all of this was better than the status quo, and we might have a better chance of remaining in the EU.

  • Peter Watson 17th Feb '19 - 10:07am

    P.S. For the avoidance of doubt I voted to remain in the EU in 2016 and would do so again. I just despair of the counterproductive tactics that the Remain campaign has practiced from the start without even learning from experience.

  • Peter Martin 17th Feb '19 - 11:23am

    @ frankie,

    You need to step up your efforts. Not only is Brexit causing UK airlines to fail it’s doing the same to German airlines too!

  • Peter Watson 17th Feb '19 - 1:49pm

    @Martin “We do know that Cameron vetoed a robust remain campaign”
    Do we? And why should that have restricted the rest of the Remain campaign? Anyway, the Remain campaign looked very robust, but it just focused on negative anti-Brexit and anti-Brexiteer attacks rather than build a positive story about EU membership.
    Those tactics of the Remain campaign lost the referendum. Appearing to learn nothing from that, two-and-a-half years of pursuing the same failed strategy, even against a backdrop of high-profile dramatic news headlines about the consequences of Brexit, just leaves us closer to leaving the EU with no deal while a large proportion of voters still tell pollsters that they support Brexit. Meanwhile most voters still back hopelessly divided Labour and Conservative parties while Lib Dem polling remains in the doldrums and its membership has dropped slightly from the level achieved under TIm Farron.
    Perhaps it is too late now to change now, but we’re as much victims of useless Remainers as we are of anything Brexiteers have said or done.

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