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Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > 2019 > 8 > Prep for Brexit: UK Seeks £25M Freight Service to Deliver Medicines, Devices

Prep for Brexit: UK Seeks £25M Freight Service to Deliver Medicines, Devices

Posted 15 August 2019 | By Zachary Brennan 

Prep for Brexit: UK Seeks £25M Freight Service to Deliver Medicines, Devices

With an eye on post-Brexit drug and medical device shortages, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care said Thursday that it’s established a £25 million contract to set up a 12-month express freight service to deliver medicines and medical products into the country.

The UK is seeking proposals until 21 August and will select providers in September.

“The service is intended to deliver small parcels of medicines or medical products on a 24-hour basis, with additional provision to move larger pallet quantities on a 2- to 4-day basis. The service will be available to the whole of the UK,” the Department of Health and Social Care said.

As the UK prepares to depart the EU on 31 October, even without a deal, the UK says the shift will be supported by an additional £2 billion from the Treasury. Those funds include £434 million to ensure vital medicine and medical products are maintained via this freight capacity, warehousing and stockpiling.

The freight service also supports the stockpiling of medicines, which has been in the works since last August, the alterations of regulatory requirements so companies can continue to sell their products in the UK if this is a no-deal Brexit, and the procuring of additional warehouse capacity and supporting of companies to improve the readiness of their logistics and supply chains to meet new customs and border requirements.

Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said in a statement Thursday: “Pharmaceutical companies have been doing everything in their power to prepare for the UK’s exit from the EU, including increasing stocks and planning alternative supply routes where possible. But some things are outside of their control.

“Companies look forward to the detail of how this extra freight capacity will work in practice,” he added. “However, we reiterate that securing a deal remains the best way to protect patients.”

Department of Health and Social Care


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