​Cameron: Medicine access must be restored 'permanently and in full'

DUP South Antrim MLA and Vice-Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee Pam Cameron has reiterated the need for access to medicines for people in Northern Ireland to be restored ‘permanently and in full.’

By Pam Cameron MLA

South Antrim

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Commenting after the Department of Health ‘s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer warned that a long-term solution is required to deal with the threat of the Protocol, Mrs Cameron said:

‘‘People living in Northern Ireland should have access to the same medicines at the same time as people living in any other part of the United Kingdom. It is outrageous and a breach of the Belfast Agreement that the EU is dictating our access to medicines.

The Protocol is a threat to public health in Northern Ireland. Extra checks on medicines coming from Great Britain will ultimately add cost, reduce choice and put patients at risk.

In September it was reported that well over 3,000 medicines are either set to be withdrawn or are at risk. This doesn’t even tell the whole story. Grace periods are still masking the worst effects. There is also the potential for new EU laws to add further disruption and create new headaches for our health service.

The decision by Brussels to rethink these arrangements is welcome but the devil will be in the details. Instead of giving them a pat on the back, those who called for the ‘rigorous implementation’ of the Protocol should perhaps explain why they championed the denial of these rights in the first place.

Medicines should not have been in scope of negotiations at all. Any threat to the EU single market is minimal. These issues should not have been weaponised to force the Government into a legal straitjacket and place Northern Ireland citizens at a disadvantage.

The focus now needs to be on securing practical solutions which remove barriers to the trade in medicines within the United Kingdom permanently and in full. We will continue to liaise with health professionals, patient advocates and wider industry to promote clarity and certainty for all those affected."

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