Brexit – continuity of supply of medicines and medical products


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Dear Customer,

The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) are in continual contact and thought it helpful we share some of this information with you that helps DD prepare for a potential no-deal EU exit on 31st October 2019. In summary, the following applies:

Border assumptions, multi layered approach
The main risk to the unhindered supply of medicines and medical products presented by the UK exiting the EU without a deal remains the predicted reduced traffic flow at the short straits crossings (i.e. between Calais/Dunkirk/Coquilles and Dover/Folkestone). Around three-quarters of medicines and over half the clinical consumables the UK uses come from (or via) the EU and the vast majority are reliant on those crossings.

The Government’s Border Delivery Group (BDG) has been reviewing the readiness of border infrastructures and of traders to comply with customs and order processes in the UK and the EU. Whilst the predicted flow rate across the short straits has improved slightly since 29th March, significant disruption would be expected for six months following a no-deal exit, with the most severe period being the first three months. Given this, it remains necessary to maintain a multi-layered approach to
contingency, in order to secure continuity of supply for medicines and medical products, ahead of a potential 31st October
no-deal exit.

DHSC are strongly recommending and working on the following actions to primarily protect supply of prescription only medicines (POM), pharmacy products and other related products for the provision of dentistry.

  • DHSC secured capacity for rerouting freight away from the short straits immediately after no-deal exit day, in order to avoid the worst restrictions on flow of goods as outlined above. This includes express freight services along with ‘roll on, roll off’ freight capacity for prioritised product.
  • Stockpiling product above and beyond business-as-usual inventory levels; as a default, this is recommended as six weeks’ stock above business as usual inventory.
  • Assurance on the readiness of DD’s logistics and supply chains to meet the new customs and border requirements for both import and export (sometimes referred to a “trader readiness”).
  • DD is required to share its plans on the above.
  • The introduction of, and working with a DHSC national supply and disruption response unit (NSDR) that will operate to resolve supply disruption incidents should they arise.
  • Use of the DHSC recently procured warehousing capacity to ensure sufficient overspill space is available should we need it.

I hope this information is useful and helps with your own planning and arrangements.

Should any additional information become available we will let you know.

Kind sincerely,

Paul Adams

Managing Director