WITH the option of a no-deal Brexit still on the table, it is important that businesses take precautions to ensure they are prepared for every eventuality ahead of the March 29 deadline for the UK’s departure from the European Union.

However, it is hugely concerning when those precautions mean that everyday medicines become scarce or hugely expensive.

Speaking in today’s Northern Echo, Dr David Russell, the prescribing lead for Darlington’s Clinical Commissioning Group, admits there is a “very serious issue with the supply of prescription drugs”.

The problem has existed for a number of years, but it has become much more acute in the last few months, with an increasing amount of anecdotal evidence suggesting that drugs are being stockpiled because of fears of a no-deal Brexit.

Patients in the North-East and North Yorkshire are finding it difficult to access their prescribed medication, while pharmacies are having to pay vastly-inflated prices for drugs that, in some cases, are more than ten times more expensive than they were a year ago.

Later this week, MPs will discuss a number of amendments to the Government’s Brexit bill, one of which could see Article 50 – the mechanism by which the UK will leave the EU – extended by up to nine months.

That might make sense in terms of increasing the time available to negotiate a deal, but it would pile even more pressure on a healthcare system that is struggling to cope with the uncertainty of the Brexit process.