Industry Responds to Ministerial Statement on Medicines Supply in No-Deal Brexit

October 10, 2019

Following the publication of a statement from the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, on the continuity of medicines supply in a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario, the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) has issued a response on Oct. 9, 2019.

Following the publication of a statement from the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, on the continuity of medicines supply in a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario, the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) has issued a response on Oct. 9, 2019.

Hancock’s statement provides an update on how the Department of Health and Social Care will work to support a continuous supply of medicines and medical products into the UK if the country leaves the European Union without a deal on Oct. 31, 2019. Released on Oct. 8, 2019, the statement specifically highlights six components that have been updated. These components are as follows: improving trader readiness for new border arrangements, building up buffer stocks, procuring extra warehousing space for stockpiled medicines, securing freight capacity, changing or clarifying regulatory requirements, and strengthening the processes and resources used to deal with shortages.

In response, Steve Bates OBE, chief executive of BIA said, “I ask all companies that are seeking to use the government-procured supply routes to import and export medicines in the event of a no-deal to register their interest immediately. This is best done by replying to the communication from the Department of Health yesterday. This is a key step to enable companies to book and purchase government procured ferry space-as details of it emerge-in the weeks ahead.

“This capacity, on which much of the sector has always planned to rely on, to deliver medicines to patients in the event of no-deal, is not now set to be fully available until the end of November as the National Audit Office report showed last week. This is likely to put greater pressure on warehoused stockpiles of medicines in the event of expected significant delays at the short straights.

“This information was available to companies much further in advance of the last no-deal deadline. This delay means companies have much less time to understand the consequential implications for their own supply chain planning. For example, it makes a significant difference to maintaining temperature control of loads and to driver’s hours when deciding whether to go for one of two ferries a day from Cherbourg, rather than the current turn up and go arrangement at Calais.”

More detailed information on the updated components and preparations to ensure medicines supply is continued in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit are being communicated to pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and the Adult Social Care sector by the Department of Health and Social Care directly. The written statement from Hancock can be found on the UK parliament website.

Sources: BIA, Parliament.uk