Brexit: European Council adopts decision to extend the period under Article 50
The European Council has adopted a decision to extend the period under Article 50.3 (of the Treaty on the European Union), in the context of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU.
The extension will last until 31 January 2020 to allow more time for the ratification of the withdrawal agreement. The withdrawal can take place earlier on 1 December 2019 or 1 January 2020, if the withdrawal agreement is ratified by both parties.
For the duration of the extension the United Kingdom remains a member state with all the rights and obligations set out in the treaties and under EU law.
The decision was taken unanimously by the European Council by written procedure, with the agreement of the UK. This agreement was set out in a letter from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to President of the European Council Donald Tusk. The European Council also agreed a declaration accompanying the decision.
While the Government and the House of Commons continue to consider what the final EU Exit arrangements might be, the Department of Health (DoH) is continuing its work on its no-deal planning.
Guidance to community pharmacy remains the same:
• Contractors should not stockpile additional medicines beyond business as usual stocks and should continue to report current shortage/pricing issues through the usual routes including CPNI
• Contractors should ask staff to reassure patients that the Government has contingency plans for a no-deal exit from the EU and that they should not stockpile additional medicines at home
• There is no need for clinicians to write prescriptions for longer than is usual
• Contractors should inform staff of the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme, which will remain open until 31st December 2020 in a no-deal scenario.
We hope this helps to relieve the current situation and we will continue to develop further resources as needed.
Medicine shortages is a continuing issue with an increasing number of products being awarded a concessionary price. We appreciate the lengths contractors take to try to maintain medicine supply to patients but inevitably we know there are instances when not all medicines prescribed can be supplied at once.
CPNI has produced a standard patient leaflet to help contractors explain to patients the ongoing matter of medicine shortages: