Thursday, August 15, 2019

Government Department Steps Up Preparations for Pharma Imports Post Brexit

New Money Available for Express Freight Service
Shipping News Feature
UK – EUROPE – The Department of Health and Social Care is strengthening its Brexit preparations with a £25 million contract to set up an express freight service to deliver medicines and medical products into the country. The so called pharma shipments have been the source of concerns with regard the maintenance of an effective import supply chain after extra Customs checks are likely to be instigated when Britain exits the EU.

The department is leading a procurement exercise for an express freight service as part of the government’s plans to support continuity of supply if the UK leaves the EU on 31 October. 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.

Whilst the majority of goods will be standard medicines and medical products, the express freight service must also deliver temperature-controlled products if needed. The contract is expected to run for 12 months, with a possible further 12 month extension.

The contract notice has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union and potential bidders have until August 21 to submit proposals. The successful provider(s) are expected to be announced in September. The UK government says that taxpayers will only be liable for up to around £4 million of the total value of the contract, but apparently it expects it 'to be much less than this'.

The service aims to to provide an additional level of contingency as part of necessary preparations to leave the EU on 31 October, whatever the circumstances, supported by an additional £2 billion from the Treasury across government.

This money includes £434 million to help ensure continuity of vital medicines and medical products through freight capacity, warehousing and stockpiling. The new service will support existing plans already in place, including:

  • building buffer stocks of medicines and medical products
  • changing or clarifying regulatory requirements so that companies can continue to sell their products in the UK if we have no deal
  • strengthening the process and resources used to deal with shortages
  • procuring additional warehouse capacity
  • supporting companies to improve the readiness of their logistics and supply chains to meet the new customs and border requirements for both import and export