Guidance

Parallel export and hoarding of restricted medicines

Information for wholesale dealer licence holders about the medicines they cannot parallel export or hoard.

The government has restricted the parallel export and hoarding of some medicines.

Parallel exporting means buying medicines already placed on the market in the UK so that you can sell them in another country in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Hoarding of medicines is when wholesale dealers withhold a medicine when it is in short supply.

Parallel exporting and hoarding can create or worsen medicine shortages.

Medicines you cannot parallel export or hoard

See the list of medicines that you cannot parallel export from the UK or hoard because they are needed to meet the needs of UK patients.

This list is reviewed and updated regularly. It’s your responsibility to check this list before parallel exporting medicines.

Sign up to receive an email alert when the list is updated.

Exporting to non-EEA countries

You cannot export medicines on the restricted medicines list that have been put on the market for UK patients to countries outside the EEA.

Exporting to crown dependencies and overseas territories

You can continue to export medicines to the crown dependencies and overseas territories. The restrictions do not apply.

Exporting medicines meant for markets abroad

You can continue to export medicines manufactured and intended for markets abroad.

Parallel exports that have already been agreed

If you receive a final agreed purchase order from an importer before the date of restriction then you can still carry out that order.

The restriction for each medicine applies from 00:00am at the start of the date of restriction.

The restricted medicines list includes the date of restriction.

Withholding medicines as part of stock management or stockpiling arrangements

You can continue to withhold medicines as part of stock management arrangements agreed with marketing authorisation holders. It is not considered hoarding.

You can also continue to maintain Brexit stockpiles built up at the request of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Breaching the restrictions

If you parallel export, start hoarding or continue hoarding a medicine on the restricted list it will be considered a breach of regulation 43(2) the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.

It may lead to regulatory action by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) against the wholesale dealer’s licence.

This could include:

  • an immediate suspension of the licence or suspension of the supply of certain products under the licence
  • a 28-day notice proposing to vary the licence to restrict or prevent export activity

If you continue to breach the restrictions it will be considered a criminal offence under regulation 34(1), read together with regulation 18(1) of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.

How we decide which medicines to restrict

DHSC will prohibit the parallel export of a medicine if it considers that the following conditions are met:

  • the medicine is required to meet the needs of UK patients
  • the medicine is either being parallel exported or is at threat of being parallel exported
  • the export of that medicine is either contributing to, or may contribute to, a shortage of that medicine in the UK

Further advice and information

Email parallelexports@dhsc.gov.uk if you have any questions about the restrictions.

Published 7 October 2019
Last updated 8 October 2019 + show all updates
  1. A correction has been made to the paragraph 'Parallel exports that have already been agreed'. The restriction for each medicine applies from 00:00am at the start of the date of restriction. This is the day after a medicine has been added to the restricted medicines list and not the same day ('publication date'), as previously stated.
  2. First published.