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Dickson Criticises Protocol “Scaremongers” Spreading Reports Around Access to Medicines

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has criticised those “scaremongering” around access to medicines following the introduction of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mr Dickson was speaking after an Assembly debate yesterday (Monday) on unfettered access to medicines. He said those, including the TUV’s Jim Allister, who accused those backing the motion as ‘sacrificing the lives‘ of the people of Northern Ireland, were utterly wrong.

It comes in the wake of reports around access to lung cancer drug Osimertinib, which opponents of the Protocol say had been blocked from widespread use in Northern Ireland. The EU said there was no issue due to the grace period for medicines, adding it was ‘quite incorrect’ and the Protocol ensured the continued availability of medicines here.

Mr Dickson said: “Alliance did not want the Protocol but we know why it came about – because of Brexit and it is the responsibility of those who chose to pursue an extreme Brexit.

“However, we are attempting to find solutions to any problems from it, engaging extensively with the UK Government and the EU on the matter. Indeed, Alliance’s proposal of a UK-EU veterinary agreement to ease frictions has gained considerable traction.

“The vast majority of medicines in Northern Ireland come from Great Britain but are manufactured in the EU. The grace period on the implementation of rules around medicines imported from the single market has been welcome and should be given more space, and it is in everyone’s interest to keep medicines flowing long-term.

“What will not resolve any problems is continued blatant scaremongering. Issues with medicines are also affecting Scotland, therefore not relating to the Protocol.

“As a cancer survivor, I take great offence at being told my vote in the Assembly may ‘sacrifice the lives of my constituents’. The statements of Jim Allister and others, both in and out of the Assembly, are utterly wrong and they need to reflect on them.”


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