An ‘express freight service’ for medicinal products will be implemented in the scenario of a no-deal Brexit.

The Department of Health and Social Care announced today that it will set up an ‘express freight service’ to deliver medicines to the UK in the scenario of a medicine shortage in a no-deal Brexit world. It is a service in addition to the extra $2bn the government announced at the beginning of August.

The £25m contract will ensure medicines are still delivered to UK patients and is set to run for 12 months with the possibility of a contract extension. According to the contract details this service will be able to provide, small parcels/packages of medicines or medical products on a 24hour basis, with larger containments available on 2-4-day basis. The government also highlighted that the service will be primarily for standard medicine products but that it will also be able to handle temperature-controlled products if required.

Health Minister Chris Skidmore said that: ‘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.’

However, amid all this good news, the government is yet to secure a supplier, with the potential bidders having until the 21st August, to submit proposals to win the contract. The successful bidder will be announced in September only a month before the expected 31st October deadline date, leaving no room for mistakes or last-minute decision changes.

This announcement further increases the likelihood of no-deal Brexit scenario and this news has not been taken well by insiders in the Healthcare industry, with many alarmed at what this announcement could allude to in the future. With the British Medical Association (BMA), calling the plan ‘beyond alarming’, with deputy chair of the BMA adding that “ This latest announcement from the government is a further indication of the chaos that will lay in store for the NHS and patients in the event of a no-deal Brexit and highlights just how costly this will be.”

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry reluctantly accepted the news, welcoming the additional measures but stressing that a no-deal should be avoided as not only could it have a dramatic impact on the supply of medicines but that it could also affect ongoing drug research and collaboration with the EU.

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