Concerns raised about insulin supplies after Brexit

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A diabetes charity has raised concerns that Brexit may impact on the availability of life-saving insulin supplies.

The InDependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT) said people with the condition using insulin “need guarantees about supply chains because their lives depend on insulin”.

Jenny Hirst, co-chair and co-founder of the organisation, said: “While everyone is getting sick of the whole Brexit debate, insulin-dependent people with diabetes will actually become seriously ill if a no-deal disrupts supply of the life-saving drug."

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Earlier this month the subject was discussed in the House of Lords with Baroness Mandoor admitting she could not “give copper-bottomed guarantees” that those with diabetes would still have access to insulin after March 29, when the UK is due to leave the EU.

Concerns have been raised about insulin suppliesConcerns have been raised about insulin supplies
Concerns have been raised about insulin supplies

Jenny added: “This is just not good enough, because people with diabetes need guarantees. Their lives depend on insulin. Our members need to know the government is treating continued insulin supplies as a priority.

“They need clear assurances that everyone with insulin dependent diabetes in the UK will receive the medication they need to stay alive.

“For over 15 years, the IDDT has been collecting unwanted, in-date insulin to send to help people with diabetes in developing countries where people die for lack of insulin. Never did we think that people with diabetes in the UK would have to face the threat of lack of insulin and the subsequent consequences of this.”

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According to the IDDT, there are around 421,000 people with type 1 diabetes and round 150,000 people with type 2 diabetes who require insulin to control their condition.

The Northampton charity provides vital independent support for people with diabetes, their parents and carers throughout the country.

The charity formed in 1994 to fight for choice of insulin for all. It now provides a free, confidential helpline, has published dozens of helpful publications, stages events and lobbies the government on behalf of its members.

The government has asked the NHS, suppliers and pharmaceutical companies to order six additional weeks worth of medicines in case supplies are disrupted by a no deal Brexit. Around three-quarters of the medicines and more than half of devices and one-use medical products (such as syringes) that the NHS uses come into the UK via the EU.

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The government has given instructions to pharmaceutical companies to ensure that they have adequate stocks in order to reduce the risk of disruption if there are delays at the border as expected.