Stockpiling drugs in anticipation of the end of Brexit Transition

The UK government has written an open letter to medicine suppliers, outlining how supply can be maintained in anticipation of the end the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.

“The ongoing pandemic, gradual resumption of National Health Service (NHS) activity and seasonal pressures, mean we must prepare thoroughly for the end of the transition period.

The letter explains that the UK must plan for all scenarios, including reduced traffic flow in a reasonable worst-case scenario. The focus between should be on mitigating any potential disruption to all categories of medical supplies into the UK.

The strategies proposed by the government include:

  • Re-routing away from the “short straits”: the first priority should be to maintain replenishment rates at necessary levels by securing capacity to re-route supplies away from potential disruption points.
  • Supporting “trader readiness” for the new customs and border arrangements: the government will seek information from suppliers to help identify those who may need more support, such as controlled drugs and cold chain logistics.
  • Buffer stocks of medical supplies where possible: companies are encouraged to make stockpiling a key part of contingency plans and industry should target stockpiling of six weeks’ stock in the UK, if possible.
  • Regulatory flexibility: regulations are likely to change frequently and these changes will be communicated efficiently when possible.
  • Shortage management response: medicines suppliers are responsible for providing early notification of supply disruptions to the government.

On the contrary, the government has asked health and social care service providers to avoid local stockpiling as it is unnecessary and could cause shortages in other areas, which could put patient care at risk. The letter also emphasises that patients do not need to stockpile medicines.

To view the full correspondence from the government, click here.