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15.08.19

Government announces £25m Brexit medicines ‘express freight service’

In the event of a No Deal Brexit, the Government has announced the setting up of a high-speed freight service to ferry medicine to the UK from France.

A £25m contract has been announced by government ministers for an ‘express freight service’ to deliver drugs from Europe within 24 hours. The service would deliver small parcels of medicine every day, and larger quantities of medicine every two to four days.

Health minister Chris Skidmore said: “I want to ensure that when we leave the EU at the end of October, all appropriate steps have been taken to ensure frontline services are fully prepared. That’s why we are stepping up preparations and strengthening our already extremely resilient contingency plans.

READ MORE: NHS faces £2.3bn bill in no-deal Brexit in medicine and supplies cost surge

“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.”

The year-long contract is set to begin on 31 October – the day Britain is scheduled to exit the European Union.

Interested providers have been given a deadline of 21 August to submit proposals, with the successful bidder set to be announced in September.

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Currently, the government is spending £434m to stockpile vital medicines and medical products, to ensure their continuity post-Brexit. Pharmaceutical companies have been urged to stockpile six weeks’ worth of essential medicines in the event of a No Deal Brexit.

Reliance on European Union countries to import drugs and medical equipment has been one of the big concerns for critics of a No Deal Brexit, with fears it could ramp up costs and cause issues within the supply chain.

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