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Operation Yellowhammer report and what it says about medicine shortages

A number of medicines cannot be 'stockpiled' due to short shelf lives, according to the Yellowhammer documents (Picture: Getty Images)

A number of medicines cannot be ‘stockpiled’ due to short shelf lives, according to the Yellowhammer documents (Picture: Getty Images)

The government has warned that medicines will be ‘particularly vulnerable to severe delays’ in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

According to the Yellowhammer documents, which the government was forced to publish after MPs voted to force them to do so, ‘three-quarters of medicines’ come to the UK from the EU.

The six page document also sets out the impact of a no-deal scenario on food supplies, delays at the border, civil disorder, fuel disruption and rising electricity prices.

The government admits in the documents that it cannot provide stockpiles for certain medicines that have ‘short shelf lives’.

This is what the document says in relation to the impact on medicines: ‘The BDG/DfT planning assumption on reduced flow rates describes a pre-mitigation reasonable worst case flow rate that could be as low as 40% D1ND via the short Channel Straits, with significant disruption lasting up to six months.

‘Unmitigated, this will have an impact on the supply of medicines and medical supplies.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 27, 2019 in Nantes, western France, medicines, pills, tablets, suppositories and pharmaceutical drugs are pictured. - Preparedness in Britain for a no-deal Brexit remains "at a low level", with logjams at Channel ports threatening to impact drug and food supplies, according to government assessments released September 11, 2019. British MPs voted last week to force the government to publish the no-deal "Operation Yellowhammer" document, which also warns of "public disorder" in such a scenario. Britain's plan for no checks at the Irish border would likely "prove unsustainable due to significant economic, legal and biosecurity risks", it said, adding that it could lead to a black market developing in border communities, with dissident groups expected to capitalise. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

Preparedness in Britain for a no-deal Brexit remains ‘at a low level’ (Picture: AFP)

‘The reliance of medicines and medical products’ supply chains on the short straits crossing, make them particularly vulnerable to severe extended delays; three-quarters of medicines come via the short straights.

‘Supply chains are also highly regulated and require transportation that meets strict Good Distribution Practices. This can include limits on time of transit, or mean products must be transported under temperature controlled conditions.

‘Whilst some products can be stockpiled others cannot due to short shelf lives-it will also not be practical to stockpile products to cover expected delays of up to six months. DHSC is developing a multi-layered approach to mitigate these risks. (DHSC).’

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An entire paragraph has been blacked out on the document relating to no-deal Brexit fears.

The Yellowhammer pages also set out the expected impact on EU citizenship for British nationals as well as the impact on clean water and fears over fishing wars between UK and EU vessels.



What does Operation Yellowhammer warn of?

  • Three months of disruption at Channel crossings
  • Two-and-a-half day delays for lorries entering the UK
  • Immigration delays for UK tourists heading to Europe
  • Rise in protests and public disorder
  • Disruption to fuel supplies
  • ‘Significant’ electricity price rises
  • ‘Severe extended delays’ to medicine supplies
  • Animal disease outbreaks
  • Reduction in supplies of fresh food
  • Supermarket price rises
  • Panic-buying
  • Lack of clean water due to failure in supply of chemicals
  • Breakdown in sharing of law enforcement data with EU countries
  • Gibraltar not prepared enough
  • Fishing wars between UK and EU vessels
  • Hard border in Ireland

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