Sanofi may airlift medicines into UK after Brexit

France’s Sanofi has said it may fly supplies of flu vaccine into the UK if Brexit causes travel disruption after the country leaves the EU.

Hugo Fry, the managing director of its UK arm, told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money programme that the vaccine cannot be stockpiled.

Sanofi has plans to keep stockpiles of insulin and other vaccines in place for 12 months, but this is not possible with the flu jab.

Fry reassured listeners that the day after Brexit, patients will be able to access all drugs that it has been possible to stockpile.

He told the programme: “You can’t stockpile it (the vaccine) because it’s made at a particular time of the year and it’s only available to import in the month at the end of August/beginning of September,” he said.

Fry noted that patients are Sanofi’s main concern despite the extra expense of using airlifts to get the vaccine over to UK patients.

He said: “We prepare in different ways and have prepared many different routes into the UK.

“If we have to in the end, we will airlift it in.

“We are eating the cost of that but patients and citizens are our primary concern, so we’re quite happy to take that cost and make that planning.”

Last August Sanofi said it was increasing stocks by four weeks to give it a 14-week medicine supply.

Most of Sanofi’s supplies enter the UK via the Channel Tunnel – disruption to that route caused by strikes in France led to around four weeks of disruption.

Mr Fry added: “We’re doing everything possible to make sure that everyone will get their medicines and vaccines so that they can be reassured and they don’t have to worry about it.”

Many major drug firms, such as Novartis, have said they are stockpiling medicines in the UK in case of logistical disruption after Brexit.

And Ipsen’s CEO David Meek earlier this year told pharmaphorum that the UK will slip behind the US, Europe and China when it comes to regulatory filings for drugs, potentially delaying patients’ access to the latest innovations.

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