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Supply issues

Government tenders for £3m contract for Brexit medicines express

The government has set aside £3m to transport short-life medicines and medical devices in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The figure was revealed in a tender published on 1 July 2019, following reports in June 2019 that plans were being drawn up to import urgent medicines via an express freight service.

The tender says that the Department of Health and Social Care is seeking to engage an “express distribution service with full track and trace capability for the movement of medicines and medical products … between continental Europe and the UK”.

The service must be capable of import and export between the UK and Europe, and may utilise “any mode of transport” that is compatible with the timescales needed for delivery, which are between one and four working days. The service must be able to transport substances of human origin and active temperature-controlled product, as well as hazardous materials including radioactive isotopes.

Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said on 26 June 2019 — after the government first announced plans for an express freight service — said that “additional government-secured freight capacity was key to company planning for a ‘no deal’ [Brexit] in March 2019, and this must be available to companies again as they prepare for the end of October”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206773

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