UK-CAB statement on Brexit, HIV and access to medicines

Simon Collins, HIV i-Base

On 19 December 2018, the UK-CAB, an HIV treatment advocacy organisation, published recommendations to mimimise the risk for HIV positive people having an interruption in supply of medicines, due to uncertainty over plans for Brexit.

The guidelines suggest having sufficient medicines to cover the initial few months from April 2019. They suggest arranging this in plenty of time, to reduce pressure on NHS services at the proposed date for Brexit.

The recommendations are posted below.

UK-CAB statement on Brexit, HIV and access to medicines

As a peer-led HIV advocacy project, the UK-CAB, like many other organisations, is concerned about the impact Brexit will have on access to medicines.

Leaving the EU has the potential to increase the costs of medicines to the NHS, restrict rapid access to new medicines and interrupt supplies of currently approved drugs. The last few weeks have been particularly worrying given the limited planning within the NHS.

As no one can predict what will happen after the proposed leaving date of 29th March 2019, the following recommendations are suggested for HIV positive people to be as prepared as possible for any minor disruptions.

  1. Check now how much medication you have at home. Count the boxes you have and work out how long it will last you. 
  2. If your meds are due to run out before the end of April, it would be better to organise a new prescription in or before March. This will avoid pressuring the NHS when services will be least certain. It will also ensure your treatment will be arranged to cover the first few months after March 2019.
  3. Check the date of your next clinic appointment and bring this forward if necessary. Please leave enough time for your blood results and meds to be issued well before the end of March.
  4. There is no need to ask for an extra supply. Your normal prescription should cover any initial disruption during the first months after April 2019. 

Everyone hopes any supply issues, if they arise, will be temporary and short-lived. However, it is in everyone’s best interests to be prepared. 

HIV treatment in the UK remains free at the point-of-care to anyone with HIV regardless of nationality or residency status.

The UK-CAB will continue to seek updates from the relevant authorities and will post further updates when we know more.


UK Community Advisory Board (UK-CAB) announcement. UK-CAB statement on Brexit, HIV and access to medicines. (19 December 2018).

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.