Lord Dodds issues warning over medicines supply to Northern Ireland

The DUP Peer Lord Dodds has warned the Government to heed the evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on the NI Protocol and recognise that Northern Ireland’s medicine supply chain is in real danger.

By The Rt Hon Lord Dodds of Duncairn OBE Peer

Lord Dodds said:

“The threat to medicine supply to Northern Ireland is real and urgent action is necessary.

A cliff edge is coming at the end of the year whereby vitally important medicines could be withdrawn from supply to Northern Ireland.

The Committee on the Protocol continues to delve into the issue of medicine supplies to Northern Ireland being restricted as a result of the Protocol and will be writing to the Government outlining our grave concerns.

The threat to our medicine supply because of the implementation of the Protocol should concern everyone, even with the changes that the EU has made.

It is important to note with all the talk of progress on red/green channels, this issue, along with others, is caused by the implementation of EU laws in Northern Ireland. The medicines problem, like so many other issues, will not be solved merely by making checks less obtrusive.

The fundamental problem of the Protocol can only be solved by getting rid of EU laws, and this is one area medicines, where is this is starkly demonstrated. This was the Government’s position in its Command Paper of July 2021 and it is the solution which works on a sustainable basis.

Whatever about checks, problems will remain and be created for Northern Ireland in terms of divergence, regulatory difference and restriction of choice, as a result of our laws being made by a foreign political entity in its own interests with no democratic say or control by elected representatives in Northern Ireland.

With medicines being under EU law means we are subjected unnecessarily to the Falsified Medicines Directive. It adds nothing but costs, bureaucracy and instability to our medicine supplies which are perfectly safe coming from Great Britain as they always have.

As a result of EU law here we are forced to have set up special arrangements to allow medicines of incredible importance to enter Northern Ireland. These include drugs covering cancer pain, migraine and psychotic episodes. This is all unacceptable.

Medicines needs to be removed from the Protocol.

Tinkering around with reducing checks whilst maintain the implementation of EU rules and laws do not solve problems like medicine supply.”

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