Signpost showing Union Jack flag and EU flag

Brexit and MS

It's now over three years since the UK voted to leave the EU. Theresa May failed to get support for her withdrawal agreement. So it will fall to new Prime Minister Boris Johnson to negotiate the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. 

There’s a lot of debate about whether we’ll have a deal or a no deal Brexit, and what either option could look like. But no one seems to have all the answers.

In recent months, Boris Johnson said he'll take the UK out of the EU no later than 31 October, and that he'd consider a no-deal exit to do it. Whether this is possible is unclear.

So we looked at all the information to see what Brexit could mean for our MS community. We’ve chosen four questions to answer today, and as we get more information we’ll update this blog.

Should I be stockpiling my medicines?

Storing prescribed medicines could mean you’re not following your doctor’s recommendations on when they should be taken. It could also lead to medication going out of date.

The UK Government has asked all drug companies to increase their medicine stock by 6 weeks. This should avoid any delays in getting medicines to people when they need them. Drug companies tell us this measure - and other actions they’re taking - should mean that access to medicines is not disrupted if our trading arrangements with the EU become unclear.

We’re speaking to industry and Government regularly, to make sure this advice stays the same and that they remain confident medicines will continue to be available.

For now, you should follow your doctor’s advice and avoid stockpiling prescribed medicines.

If your doctor or pharmacist has told you anything different, please email us at campaigns@mssociety.org.uk.   

Will the cost of my medicines go up?

Prescriptions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will remain free. In England, if you currently pay for your prescription, there’s unlikely to be a price increase due to Brexit.

Although prescriptions occasionally increase in cost - this increase would be shared across all medications. This means the set price for a prescription would rise, but a rise should be minimal.

The Government in the UK hasn’t indicated that prescription charges would increase as a result of Brexit.

We’re keeping a close eye on this.

Will the availability of new treatments be affected by Brexit?

There’s still a question about whether the UK will be able to access new medicines as quickly after Brexit.

At the moment, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is responsible for approving new medicines. But the UK's future relationship with the EMA is yet to be decided.
The body that regulates medicines here in the UK is the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulations Agency (MHRA). Both the MHRA and the Government have said that making our system for licensing drugs as similar as possible to the EU’s is a priority. This should ensure we can still access new medicines quickly.

Until we know if we’re leaving the EU with or without a deal, we don’t know what the new system will be. But the Government has said a system for approving drugs will be in place, whatever the outcome in the Brexit negotiations.

In the meantime, we’re continuing our Treat Me Right campaign to make sure people can get access to the right treatment at the right time.

Will my care worker be able to remain after Brexit?

Yes. If your care worker is from the EU and has been in the UK for 5 years or more on March 29 this year, they’ll have the right to stay already.

If they have been in the UK for less than 5 years, EU citizens will still have the right to stay in the UK between 30 March 2019 and June 2021. They’ll have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme during this period for permission to stay in the UK after June 2021.

Are we still campaigning?

Yes. And, together, we’ve been getting louder than ever in recent years.

You may have seen us on BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme talking about social care. Our PIP 20m rule campaign being covered by Sky News Sunrise. And our comments on the cannabis law change in newspapers including the Times, Telegraph and Daily Mail.

This wouldn’t have been possible without you.

In the past year, 66,505 actions, like signing our petition on ocrelizumab, were taken by our campaigns community. And, by emailing and tweeting your MPs, you’ve helped us reach 98% of them to raise important issues. Like ending the care crisis, scrapping the PIP 20m rule and improving access to treatments.

We’re continuing to campaign, in partnership with other charities, on all of these issues and more.

Join the campaigns community to hear more about our campaigns and take action on important issues.

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