Government has awarded contracts to three companies to deliver urgent medicines and medical products into the UK after Brexit.
The £25 million ‘express freight service’, first announced in August, aims to ensure easy access of medicines and medical products for patients as well as care providers after Brexit and promises 24 to 48-hours delivery to meet any urgent needs.
Contracts have been awarded to three providers: UPS, DFDS and Biocair – they are expected to use a mixture of air and road transport to support the express movement of products.
The new service gives NHS the access to a next day delivery on small consignments, including temperature-controlled or hazardous products, 48-hour delivery for larger loads, and access to specialist services, including hand-delivered courier services if needed.
It will also support the existing plans, which are already in place.
“This dedicated delivery service will get urgent supplies and short shelf life medicines, like radioisotopes for cancer treatments, rapidly into the country, including by plane where necessary,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Hancock said the government now have detailed plans for every medicine, including those with short shelf lives, to ensure uninterrupted supply through Brexit.
Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said: “Industry has been doing everything in its power to make sure people get the medicines they need. Whilst there are many things beyond their control, this is an important contingency plan that will help our members continue their preparations – alongside the stockpiles they have already built and alternative freight routes they have secured.”