Brexit: DHSC bolsters no-deal planning with express freight service

Brexit: DHSC bolsters no-deal planning with express freight service

August 16, 2019

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced the creation of an express freight service for medicines as part of contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit.

Currently undergoing a procurement exercise, the new freight service will be available to transport medicines and medical products into the UK quickly. Small parcels will be delivered within 24 hours, whilst larger quantities will be moved in 2 to 4 days.

The original 29th March date for leaving the EU effectively gave DHSC and medicines manufacturers a dry run of their contingency planning, learning from which has been used to improve on preparations this time around.

This additional supply route is intended to provide an extra level of protection to the medicines supply chain in a no-deal scenario.

Other elements of Government planning to ensure the continuity of supply of medicines include:

  • Securing additional roll-on, roll-off freight capacity away from Dover and Folkestone (seen as key pressure points) for goods to continue to come into the UK from 31st October;
  • Building up buffer stocks and stockpiling (by DHSC and industry) in the UK before 31st October;
  • Buying extra warehouse space to hold additional stock;
  • Booking space on aeroplanes for products that require an immediate shipment due to short shelf-life or specific storage conditions;
  • Making changes to regulatory requirements so companies can continue to sell their products in the UK even if we have no deal; and
  • Strengthening the processes and resources used to deal with shortages in the event that they do occur despite everyone’s efforts.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:

“The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has been working closely with representatives of medicines manufacturers and pharmacies for almost a year to put robust plans in place for a possible no-deal Brexit. The news that DHSC is working to procure an express freight capacity contract is another example of its multi-layered approach to protecting the supply of medicines into the UK. The freight service is intended to provide an additional safety net should manufacturers’ own contingency arrangements falter.

PSNC is continuing to work closely with the Department and others to try to ensure that community pharmacies and their patients are not negatively impacted in the event of no-deal Brexit. As with the run-up to 29th March, the PSNC-chaired Community Pharmacy Brexit Forum will ensure that pharmacies have all the information they need ahead of the 31st October deadline.”

Further information and guidance is available in our Brexit and Community Pharmacy hub:

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