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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

No-deal Brexit could disrupt medicine supplies for up to six months

Health Industry Hub | September 23, 2019 |

The UK government on Wednesday published a document explaining how a no-deal Brexit beginning on 31 October could strain trade across the English Channel for up to six months.

“The reliance of medicines and medical products’ supply chains on the short straits crossing make them particularly vulnerable to severe extended delays; three-quarters of medicines come via the short straits,” the document says.

The document explains how medicine and medical supply chains are highly regulated and require transportation that meets strict Good Distribution Practices.

“This can include limits on time of transit, or mean product must be transported under temperature-controlled conditions. Whilst some products can be stockpiled, others cannot due to short shelf lives – it will also not be practical to stockpile products to cover expected delays of up to six months.”

The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it is developing a “multi-layered approach” to mitigate these risks. DHSC also previously established a £25 million contract to set up a 12-month express freight service to deliver medicines and medical products into the country.

Sheuli Porkess, director of research, medical and innovation at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said in a statement: “Government measures have supported these preparations. Companies now need the practical detail on how some of these measures, like additional freight capacity, will work in practice.”

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has published a series of no-deal Brexit guidance documents to help with such a transition.

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