Protocol would deliver 'second tier' NHS for Northern Ireland

DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said the Northern Ireland Protocol is denying equal access to vital drugs across the United Kingdom and those who demanded its 'rigorous implementation' were in effect supporting 'second-tier' NHS for Northern Ireland.

Sir Jeffrey said,

"The Protocol continues to deny people in Northern Ireland the same level of access to medicines as people in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Because Northern Ireland is removed from the rest of the United Kingdom and Great Britain deemed a 'third country' the availability of drugs will reduce and prices will increase. The regulatory burden will mean that many of the cheaper generic medicines currently available in our supermarkets will not be on sale here because it is not economically viable for companies to licence those for sale in Northern Ireland.

We were told that the Protocol was necessary to protect the Belfast Agreement yet the reality of its implementation is to block vital medicines and deprive patients of critical treatment. The National Health Service poses absolutely no threat to the European Single Market, yet those who demanded "rigorous implementation" of the NI Protocol were in effect advocating a second-tier NHS for Northern Ireland with reduced availability of vital drugs.

This situation cannot be allowed to continue and it adds to the mounting evidence on the damaging nature of the Protocol right across every aspect of life in Northern Ireland. The damage to Northern Ireland is not just about constitutional arguments which may seem remote. It simply isn't good enough that medicine availability here is by virtue of grace periods or the whims of the European Union."

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