UK Government tells medicine suppliers to stockpile drugs for no-deal Brexit despite coronavirus concerns

pharmafile | August 4, 2020 | News story | Manufacturing and Production UK, brexit, coronavirus 

The British government has contacted medicine suppliers urging them to stockpile drugs for a possible no-deal Brexit, despite the pressure the coronavirus pandemic has had on their current stockpiles.

The government wants to sure up supplies for the general population as well as the National Health Service.

The letter, signed by Steve Oldfield, the Chief Commercial Officer at the Department of Health and Social Care, read: “Holding additional stock in the UK provides a further buffer against some disruption and we believe, where it’s possible, it’s a valuable part of a robust contingency plan. To build upon past work and ensure a coordinated approach, we will be asking suppliers to confirm their contingency plans for the end of the transition period, and in particular the balance between stock-holding in the UK, rerouting away from the short straits and readiness for new customs and border arrangements.”

“We recognise that global supply chains are under significant pressure, exacerbated by recent events with Covid-19. However, we encourage companies to make stockpiling a key part of contingency plans, and ask industry, where possible, to stockpile to a target level of six weeks’ total stock on UK soil.”

Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to extend the transition period for Brexit despite the coronavirus crisis putting increasing pressure on the economy as well as pharmaceutical stockpiles. This increases the likelihood of Britain leaving the EU without a concrete trade deal which will significantly disrupt trade routes and supply chains for medicines.

The pharmaceutical industry has warned that there would be little products available for certain conditions due to the pandemic using a significant chunk of its stockpiled drugs.

On its current trajectory, the UK is set to leave the EU’s single market, customs union and other smooth trading agreements on 31 December 2020.

Conor Kavanagh

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