Proposals from EU Likely to Ensure Medical Supplies Reach Northern Ireland

The European Union is expected to present proposals to ensure that medical supplies from the United Kingdom can continue to flow freely into Northern Ireland.

Vice President Maro efovi of the European Commission is set to present new legislation today. Lord Frost, the UK’s Brexit Minister, is said to be aware of the developments and is likely to make a statement.

The problems with pharmaceuticals originate from the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is part of the Brexit deal and ensures that Northern Ireland is subject to EU pharmaceutical standards.

Because Northern Ireland gets the majority of its pharmaceuticals from British suppliers, there had been concerns that when a grace period expires in January, their supplies may be hindered.

However, the expected EU declaration would include a proposal to establish legislation allowing for the continuation of medicinal trade between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

The European Council and the European Parliament would both have to ratify any new legislation. Before the announcement, Mr. efovi and Mr. Frost are likely to chat on the phone.

Mr. Frost is believed to have requested a  meeting with Northern Ireland’s major parties today, with party leaders expecting a report on the situation.

Other concerns are unlikely to be resolved, although both parties may indicate a strategy for dealing with unresolved concerns such as customs, food, and plant and animal inspections in the new year.

The proposed EU law reform would allow pharma suppliers based in the United Kingdom to keep their current regulatory arrangements.

It would imply that companies in the United Kingdom may continue to function as a center for supplying generic medications to Northern Ireland without having to set up shop there.

Other smaller markets that use British medications, such as Ireland, Malta, and Cyprus, would be affected by the proposals.