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Committee hears evidence on impact of Protocol on medicine supply to Northern Ireland

15 October 2021

From 4:00pm on Wednesday 20 October, the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland Sub-Committee takes evidence from pharmaceutical industry representatives for its investigation into the impact of the Protocol on the provision of medicines to Northern Ireland.


Against the backdrop of fears that some companies may decide no longer to supply medicines to Northern Ireland, on 13 October the European Commission published proposals to provide for “undisrupted medicines supply from or through Great Britain to Northern Ireland”. This followed the UK Government’s suggestion in its July 2021 Command Paper that medicines should be removed from the scope of the Protocol entirely.


Wednesday 20 October at 4:00pm

  • Michelle Riddalls, Chief Executive, PAGB, the consumer healthcare association
  • Martin Sawer, Executive Director, Healthcare Distribution Association
  • Paul Williams, Senior Director Corporate Affairs, Teva UK

Possible questions

  • How would you summarise the cost and operational impact of Brexit and the Protocol on the industry model of medicine supply to Northern Ireland?
  • How significant is the scale and risk of product withdrawal from Northern Ireland? Which product lines have been most affected?
  • What practical impact has the Government’s unilateral extension of the one-year grace period for medicines had on medicine supply to Northern Ireland? 
  • Does the Protocol carry any current or potential beneficial effects from the point of view of medicine provision to Northern Ireland?
  • What is your assessment of the EU’s proposals in its ‘non-paper’ on medicines published on 13 October? Do they go far enough to meet your concerns?
  • What is your response to the Government’s suggestion in its July 2021 Command Paper “to remove all medicines from the scope of the Protocol entirely”?
  • Do you see the potential for compromise between the UK and EU positions?
  • What practical steps can the UK and EU take to engage with industry stakeholders in the context of the forthcoming negotiations?

Scrutiny of the UK and EU proposals for the Protocol

Following this session, the Committee will undertake further scrutiny of the UK and EU’s proposals for changes to the Protocol in the coming weeks, including through an evidence session with academic experts on 27 October and a visit to Belfast, Newry and Dublin in November. The Committee also welcomes any written submissions on the UK and EU proposals.

Further information