Medicine proposals proof that changes are possible: Beattie

UUP Leader Doug Beattie said the EU medicines proposals “looks to be a step in the right direction”.

He said: “We look forward to studying the full detail of what is being proposed. However, it is difficult not to reflect on the fact that this problem should not exist in the first place as medicines should not form part of the Protocol.

“We have met with UK and EU representations throughout this process to make sure our concerns were understood. Just this week we met with Lord Frost twice and Maros Sefcovic [on Thursday].

“The changes we are seeing are testament to why the only way to ensure a replacement to the Protocol is through engagement.

UUP leader Doug Beattie. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

“We were told that the EU had reached their bottom line and any further changes to the Protocol were impossible, but we have demonstrated that this is not the case and we will continue to negotiate for further changes on trade, the role of the European Court of Justice and the democratic deficit faced by Northern Ireland.

“It will be through further negotiations, rather than threats, that the outstanding issues will be dealt with.”

Gerard Greene, chief executive of Community Pharmacy NI said EU assurances “should help to put patients at ease who were concerned about accessing key medicines”.

He added: “It is important that the respective UK and EU governments continue with their discussions and negotiations to ensure a long-term agreement is reached.”