The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have released guidance summarising their approach and actions to be taken by businesses supplying the United Kingdom (UK) with medicines from the European Union (EU), Iceland, Lichtenstein or Norway.
This follows calls from makers and suppliers of life changing medicines and devices, that freight plans are needed urgently. Some say they have not been told how their goods will be handled if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on October 31st.
Actions for companies supplying medicines, devices and clinical consumables to the UK through the EU should include:
- “Securing capacity for re-routing freight away from Dover and Folkstone after 31 October 2019 – to avoid the disruption expected to follow a no-deal Brexit.
- stockpiling a minimum of 6 weeks’ additional supply in the UK by 31 October – on top of your business-as-usual buffer stocks.
- preparing logistics and supply chains to meet the new customs and border requirement for both importing and exporting – sometimes called ‘trader readiness’.
- ensuring continued supply to the NHS as part of the contingency programme.
- making alternative air freight plans for products with a short shelf-life or where production constraints mean stockpiling is not possible – for example, medical radioisotopes.
- notifying DHSC of the company’s plans.
- review supply chains, assess how leaving the EU without a deal would impact product ranges and then make contingency plans
- read DHSC’s letter to suppliers of medical devices and clinical consumables.“
The Department for Transport has said that it has shortlisted eight freight companies that could bid to bring in drugs, using ports away from areas that are likely to face disruption. It has claimed this would provide the capacity equivalent to thousands of trucks per week.
DHSC will continue to work with companies to sustain medical supplies after Brexit. To see the full guidance, including the governments actions to ensure continuity of supply, click here.