Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health and Social Care
39 Victoria Street
Mr Spencer Gasson firstname.lastname@example.org
29 January 2019
Dear Mr Gasson, Freedom of Information Request Reference FOI-1161603
Thank you for your request dated 1 January in which you asked the Department of Health and
Social Care (DHSC): “Subject: Freedom of Information request - Medication supplies and cost, including prescriptions
Dear Department of Health and Social Care,
Under the Freedom of Information Act can publish any assessment and reports or
recommendations made regarding issues with the supply of medication or other supplies to the
NHS following BREXIT?
What issues has the department identified with the supply of medication from Europe in the short,
medium and longer term following Brexit?
Are there any particular suppliers, medicines or countries that have been identified that there may
be problems getting medication from?
Has the department planned additional funding which it can make available in this eventuality to
help fix any short term supply problems?
Has there been any assessment of likelihood of import and export taxation changes and the effect
this may have overall and on prescriptions?
Are any groups of patients (conditions, geographic areas and equalities characteristics) more at
risk from problems with their medication supplies than others and has any planning taken place?
How has the department involved patients in identifying risks from BREXIT and developing
With medication like Creons for which there are already supply problems from Poland which has
been raised previoiusly with the Department and NICE affecting a number of conditions including
pancreatic insufficiency/pancreatis and cystic fibrosis, will supplies be maintained and the higher
strength available again in local pharmacies or will certain difficult to obtain medication be available
for home delivery?
How will BREXIT affect the NHS finances in terms of the effect on the patients, GP's, CCG's,
pharmacies, opticians, and NHS trusts both in terms of payments made and received?
Has the department looked at the issue of prescription costs and able to give a projection of the
costs per prescription over a ten year basis following Brexit?
Has the department looked at offsetting additional costs by reducing prescription paperwork,
systems and costs by linking in pre - payment cards and exemptions to mean these go paper free?
To save duplication has there been any thoughts as to whether there will be a dedicated web site
area for patients etc to get information from to reduce duplication for Trust and GPs sites around
issues about BREXIT and the NHS inc any supply problems?”
Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
To provide the information as it is currently framed would exceed the appropriate cost limit set out
in the FOIA.
Section 12(1) of the FOIA means public authorities are not obliged to comply with a request for
information if it estimates the cost of complying would exceed the appropriate limit. The
appropriate limit for the DHSC is set at £600, which represents the cost of one person spending
3.5 days determining whether we hold the information, and then locating, retrieving and extracting
We have estimated that the cost of contacting all areas of DHSC to find the information you have
requested would exceed the appropriate limit. Consequently, we will not be answering your
Although we cannot answer your request at the moment, we may be able to answer a refined
request within the cost limit. You may wish to consider, for example, limiting your request to a
specific area of Health or Social care, or a particular aspect of the supply chain. Please be aware
that we cannot guarantee at this stage that a refined request would fall within the FOIA cost limit,
or that other exemptions will not apply.
You may also be interested in the information available on our website about the Department’s
Medicines Supply Contingency Planning Programme. The Department has published a collection
of guidance for the health and care system, focussing on planning for a possible no-deal EU Exit.
This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/planning-for-a-possible-no-deal-
If you are not satisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to appeal by asking for
an internal review. This should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the
response to your original letter and should be addressed to the address at the top of this letter, or
the email address at the end of this letter.
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.
If you are not content with the outcome of your internal review, you may complain directly to the
Information Commissioner (ICO) who may decide to investigate your concerns. Generally, the ICO
cannot make a decision unless you have already appealed our original response, and received our
internal review response. The ICO will not usually investigate concerns where there has been an
undue delay in bringing it to their attention. You should raise your concerns with them within three
months of your last meaningful contact with us.
The ICO can be contacted at:
The Information Commissioner's Office
Freedom of Information Officer