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Trans activists fear ‘serious consequences’ of no-deal Brexit drug rationing

Ella Braidwood December 13, 2018
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Pills – trans campaigners fear there could be drug shortages if there is a no-deal Brexit

Trans campaigners fear “serious consequences” for trans people’s mental and physical health if drug rationing is introduced following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Trans campaigner and filmmaker Owl told PinkNews that rationing medicine could “potentially be incredibly detrimental to many people’s health, especially people that require daily medicine to be able to stay healthy.”

It comes after national newspapers reported that the government has admitted drug rationing could be introduced in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Brexit drug shortages could have “serious consequences” for trans people’s health, say campaigners

Owl added: “For trans people it could have serious consequences on their physical and mental health, as many trans people rely on hormone blockers and hormones to alleviate their dysphoria and feel right in their bodies.”

Kate Nambiar, a sexual health doctor, explained that the government have been aware for “some time” that the availability of prescribed medicine could become a problem if there is a no-deal Brexit.

“For trans people it could have serious consequences on their physical and mental health.”


“Unfortunately, very little concrete information has been forthcoming about what, if any, contingency plans are in place,” she told PinkNews.

Drug rationing would affect everyone on long-term treatment, says doctor

Nambiar, who runs Clinic T, a trans sexual health clinic in Brighton, said that drug rationing would affect “everyone who is on prescription medicine,” including trans people and those being treated for HIV.

“[As well as] the effect on trans people, there is a real concern across the board in healthcare—for example people who are HIV positive on antiretrovirals, people who need insulin for diabetes, [and] people on treatment for heart conditions,” she said.

Kate Nambiar, who spoked to PinkNews about the impact drug rationing could have on trans people's health if there is a no deal Brexit
Doctor Kate Nambiar said that drug rationing would have a detrimental impact on anyone on long-term treatment. (KateNambiar/Twitter)

Nambiar explained that drug rationing has happened before, including with supplies of Testosterone gel, but that the “problem with Brexit is that we have no idea how long disruptions may last.”

Nambiar is advising those on long-term treatment to check how much they have at home and to get a repeat prescription from their GP before the Brexit deadline in March.

According to one report in The Times, ministers could be given powers to order pharmacists to alter prescriptions without contacting the patient’s GP beforehand.

Speaking to PinkNews, Helen Belcher, co-founder of charity Trans Media Watch, said the newspaper reports show “just one of the alarming effects of a no-deal” Brexit.

Belcher explained that drug shortages could have a detrimental impact on trans people’s access to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

She added: “My HRT, Progynova, is made in Germany. Sustanon, for trans men, comes from Ireland. Both could be subject to this emergency order.

“It is simply incredible that this government could be thinking of trading people’s well-being just to push Brexit through.

“Most LGBT people I know want to remain in the EU. This story shows one of the reasons why we hold that view.”

More: brexit, drug rationing, drugs, hormone replacement therapy, no-deal

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