Windsor Framework addresses drug supply issues in NI

The Backstop solution for the Irish border

The European Commission and the UK Government have reached a political agreement that they hope will address the challenges faced by citizens and businesses in Northern Ireland (NI) following Brexit.

The Windsor Framework, which focuses on a variety of issues, including supply of medicines, constitutes a comprehensive set of joint solutions aimed to ensure lasting certainty and predictability.

A solution has been found to ensure that people in NI have access to all medicines, including novel medicines, at the same time and under the same conditions as people in the rest of the UK. 

This complements the solution the EU adopted in April 2022 for the supply of generic medicines to NI. These new arrangements are made possible by new safeguards, notably labelling, designed to ensure that the medicines do not enter the EU’s Single Market.

NI’s healthcare industry will also have full access to both UK and EU markets, with the intention of supporting jobs and investment through a dual regulatory regime.

Richard Torbett, Chief Executive at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), commented on the new agreement: “While we wait to see all the details, today’s agreement appears to bring a return to a single UK market for medicines, providing the permanent solution that our members have been calling for. 

“Pharmaceutical companies will now need the right amount of time to make all necessary changes, and we will need to carefully consider the transition period for making these changes and to ensure any new guidance is clear and provided as soon as possible.

“Alongside the measures specific to medicine regulation, it’s great news that the work on the UK’s association to Horizon Europe can begin, which will help to deliver the UK’s ambition to be a science superpower.”

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