The industry body representing generic medicine suppliers here has called for the Government to improve collaboration with its members in order to avoid the risk of medicine shortages around Brexit.

Medicines for Ireland (MFI) wants a Medicines Contingency Stakeholder Group to be set up to allow quicker responses to potential problems with supplies in a post-Brexit environment.

It said it is concerned by what it describes as a "lack of consistent and meaningful engagement with the Department of Health and HSE" around the possibility of shortages and planning for disorderly Brexit.

"Medicines suppliers need to be on the inside, working with Department of Health and HSE to collaborate together and quickly respond to medicines shortages if they arise," said MFI Chairperson Owen McKeon.

MFI said the new group would be comprised of representatives from the Department of Health and the government, relevant state agencies like for example the HSE and HPRA, as well as healthcare and pharma industry representatives.

It would work to managing shortage issues in real-time to head-off difficulties before they arise and could use as a template the National Emergency Coordination Group on Severe Weather, according to MFI.

It said the prospect of Britain leaving the EU is only bringing to the fore a problem around medicine shortages that's been around for many years.

A failure to create a dynamic and competitive market where there isn't just reliance on one supplier for some medicines has led to the development of a dysfunctional market, the association said.

"Our concern is that decisions are being taken about very complex regulatory, transport and safety matters without sufficient industry consultation," Mr. McKeon said.

Nearly two thirds of all medicines in Ireland are supplied by MFI members, who are some of the biggest suppliers of medicine to the HSE, according to the body.

Other industry bodies, such as the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association which represents originator medicine suppliers, have previously warned against stockpiling of drugs ahead of Brexit, saying doing so would put supplies at risk.

IPHA says its experience of Government engagement on Brexit planning has been extensive and positive.