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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-16724: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 16 May 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what action can be taken against the manufacturer of a drug that the NHS wholly or mainly relies on for a particular treatment if it decides to stop producing or supplying that drug.

Answered by: Shona Robison 29 May 2018

Regulation for the supply of medicines is currently reserved to the UK Government. In general terms, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in England and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry have issued joint good practice guidelines " Ensuring Best Practice in the Notification of Product Discontinuations ".

The guidelines emphasise the need for an early exchange of information and companies are advised to give as much notice of a discontinuation as possible. However, companies are free to review their portfolios as they think necessary and the DHSC has no powers to insist that a company continues to keep a product on the market.

Scottish Government officials meet with DHSC colleagues to discuss medicine supply issues on a regular basis and will continue to do so. Any patients who are concerned about the discontinuation of any products should contact their doctor or pharmacist to discuss alternative treatment options.