The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care has published a letter setting out its government’s plan and requests of industry and the wider supply chain ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period.
This aims to help ensure the continuity of supply of medical goods into and out of the UK.
The letter asks suppliers to put in place flexible mitigation and readiness plans in preparation for new border and customs procedures. It also advises that drug companies should “stockpile to a target level of 6 weeks’ total stock on UK soil”.
In response, David Watson, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry’s (ABPI) Interim Executive Director for Commercial Policy said: “Pharmaceutical companies have worked around the clock to make sure medicine supply chains have held up during this pandemic. With this pressure likely to continue over the coming months, it is imperative that the government works closely with them to provide the support they need to plan for the end of the transition period.
“While this letter means that preparations can proceed, detailed guidance is still urgently required from government on issues like freight capacity, ferry routes and the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“Coronavirus has only strengthened our belief that the best possible outcome is for both sides to reach a deal that includes a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) to protect patients and public health.”
The pharmaceutical industry has called for negotiators to seek an MRA – which would see both sides accept each other’s drug safety testing and inspections before export– alongside any agreement in order to avoid unnecessary duplication, disruption to supply chains or delays to patient access to medicine.