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Type 2 Diabetes: Medicine Shortages

Volume 748: debated on Tuesday 23 April 2024

It is vital that people have access to the medicines they need. The Department has been working with the suppliers of medicines used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes to seek commitments from them to address the issues, expedite deliveries and boost supplies. As a result, the position is now much improved compared with a few months ago, with new patients now able to receive these critical medicines. We continue to work with industry to address remaining issues as quickly as possible.

We know that obesity in this country is costing the NHS about £20 billion a year, and it is a major contributory factor to type 2 diabetes, which is preventable in a lot of cases by having a healthy lifestyle. What more can we do encourage people to eat healthily and therefore save costs in the NHS?

The hon. Member raises a very important point. Obesity is linked to many health conditions, including type 2 diabetes. We are delivering an ambitious programme of work to create a healthy environment to support people in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. This includes restricting the placements of less healthy products in shops and online, calorie labelling on food sold in restaurants and a tax on the sugary drinks industry, which has removed the equivalent of 45,000 tonnes of sugar from soft drinks.

A recent Nuffield Trust report shows that medicine shortages are a new normal in the UK. The Minister might claim that this is a global issue, but as the report highlights, shortages are being made worse by Brexit. For example, the creation of a requirement for customs checks at the border and leaving the European Medicines Agency have disrupted the previously smooth supply of medicines. What urgent action will the Minister take to help to tackle the disastrous effects of Brexit on UK medicine supplies?

The SNP, as usual, is a broken record. We all know that diabetes medicine shortages are a global issue affecting countries not just across the whole of the European Union, but across the whole world. Medicine supply chains are highly regulated, complex and global. Issues can occur for multiple reasons, including manufacturing difficulties, regulatory non-compliance, surges in demand, availability of raw materials, sudden spikes in demand, and issues related to the distribution of the product. But once again, as always, the grievance culture of the SNP is: blame everything on Brexit.