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Raab: medicines may need to be stockpiled for longer than six weeks if no-deal

Archive image by Julien Behal/PA Wire

By Jennifer McKiernan and Harriet Line, Press Association Political Staff

Medicines may need to be stockpiled for longer than six weeks in a no-deal scenario, the Brexit Secretary has warned.

Labour MP Liz McInnes (Heywood and Middleton) asked whether Dominic Raab envisaged circumstances where companies may need to stockpile for longer than the six weeks requested by the Health Secretary.

Mr Raab, responding during Brexit questions in the Commons, said: "She's right to raise this issue, not least because actually, for far longer periods, Government and the pharmaceutical industry already liaise for stockpiling in other circumstances, including in relation to vaccines.

"We will keep it under review but this is something the industry is used to doing and we are used to co-operating with them in relation to it."

Earlier this week, Matt Hancock has dismissed claims that fears over a no-deal Brexit have led him to push drug companies to stockpile vital medicines for 20 weeks rather than six.

It was announced during the summer that drug companies were told to ensure they have an additional six-week supply of drugs in the event of disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Raab later failed to rule out reports that boats would be chartered to ship food and medicine to the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Labour's Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West) raised the reports, and said: "What cost has been assessed for both the Government, industry and what capacity is there in alternative ports to do this?"

Mr Raab replied: "Any blockage at the border ought to be, with pragmatism on both sides, to be able to be alleviated.

"But we need to make sure that we're in a position regardless of what the EU or the French or any other EU member state does to be able to, were there any short term disruptions, we will make sure not only do we have the money and the investment in place but we have the cooperation with businesses and the port authorities, not just in the UK but also in Belgium and the Netherlands and other parts of the EU."

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