The £25 million contract would run for 12 months, with a possible further 12-month extension. Photo: iStock

The government has created an ‘express freight service’ for medicines as part of a no-deal Brexit contingency plan.

The new service is intended to deliver small parcels of medicines or medical products on a 24-hour basis, with additional provision to move larger pallet quantities on a two to four-day basis, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced on Thursday.

The £25 million contract would run for 12 months, with a possible further 12-month extension.

“I want to ensure that when we leave the EU at the end of October, all appropriate steps have been taken to ensure frontline services are fully prepared,” said Health Minister Chris Skidmore.

“This express freight service sends a clear message to the public that our plans should ensure supply of medical goods remains uninterrupted as we leave the EU.”

This new service would support the existing plans, such as:

  • building buffer stocks of medicines and medical products
  • changing or clarifying regulatory requirements so that companies can continue to sell their products in the UK if we have no deal
  • strengthening the process and resources used to deal with shortages
  • procuring additional warehouse capacity
  • supporting companies to improve the readiness of their logistics and supply chains to meet the new customs and border requirements for both import and export

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said they are continuing to work closely with the government to avoid Brexit’s negative impact affecting community pharmacies. “The freight service is intended to provide an additional safety net should manufacturers’ own contingency arrangements falter,” PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes explained.

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