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Brexit LIVE: Rip it up! Infuriating EU rules preventing medicine from reaching UK soil

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As a result of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, checks are being imposed on trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Northern Irish health minister Robin Swann, an Ulster Unionist, has warned this could interfere with the arrival of medicine.

He also attacked the EU’s threat to trigger Article 16, suspending the Northern Ireland protocol, in January, which he said set pharmaceutical alarm bells ringing.

Some 98 percent of Northern Ireland’s medicine and medical equipment comes via Great Britain.

Mr Swann commented: “It is something that concerns me, that’s why we have been engaged quite significantly in regards to this.

“The derogation period for medicines was one of the longest that was actually agreed at the start, which gave us to the end of this year actually to get things sorted out and in a better place.

“Everyone thought that work was progressing well until the EU triggered Article 16 over vaccines.

“That unnerved people, that unsettled people and that has, I suppose, increased the level of concern we are seeing, especially from the smaller, the more intricate suppliers of medicines and medical devices.”

Unionists are furious about the new checks which they argue undermine Northern Ireland’s position within the UK.

Earlier this month loyalist rioting across the province was partially attributed to this anger.

Had the EU’s threat to suspend the Northern Irish protocol gone ahead in January it would have resulted in border checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The move was scrapped following outrage in Dublin, London and Belfast.

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