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UK urges medicine suppliers to stockpile before Brexit transition ends

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UK urges medicine suppliers to stockpile before Brexit transition ends

 

2020-08-03T165720Z_2_LYNXNPEG7219P_RTROPTP_4_BRITAIN-EU-MEDICINES.JPG

FILE PHOTO: Illustration photo shows various medicine pills in their original packaging in Brussels, Belgium August 9, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Illustration

 

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government has urged medicine suppliers to prepare for the country's exit from the EU single market and customs union on Dec. 31 by building up six weeks' worth of stocks in case of disruption to imports.

 

Under the terms of an ongoing transition period, customs and border arrangements have remained unchanged since Britain left the European Union on Jan. 31, but new checks are expected to come into force when the transition ends on Dec. 31.

 

"We recognise that global supply chains are under significant pressure, exacerbated by recent events with COVID-19," the health ministry said in a letter to medicine suppliers which it published on Monday.

 

"However, we encourage companies to make stockpiling a key part of contingency plans, and ask industry, where possible, to stockpile to a target level of six weeks' total stock on UK soil."

 

Britain and the EU are negotiating the terms of a new free trade agreement, but it is not clear whether a deal will be agreed and implemented before the Dec. 31 deadline, reviving fears of a disruptive "hard Brexit".

 

The government letter outlined the multiple pressures that the National Health Service (NHS) would be facing by winter.

 

"The ongoing pandemic, gradual resumption of NHS activity, and seasonal pressures, mean we must prepare thoroughly for the end of the transition period," it said.

 

To ensure continuity of patient care, medicine suppliers should prepare to reroute freight away from potential disruption points, especially the crossings between Dover and Folkestone on the English side and Calais, Coquelles and Dunkirk in France.

 

"Companies are encouraged to review their own logistics arrangements and consider making plans for avoiding the short straits as a matter of priority," the letter said.

 

The health ministry stood ready to support companies with their plans if needed.

 

The ministry said it had built up a centralised stock of fast-moving medical devices and clinical consumables in the run-up to the exit from the EU on Jan. 31.

 

"Some of this stock remains and accounting for likely demand trends for the time of year, we plan to build these levels back up to a target level of six weeks' total stock," it said.

 

(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Susan Fenton)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-08-04
 

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I wonder whether HM Government are anticipating disruption because of the introduction of customs checks and so forth, or punitive sanctions preventing the movement of certain commodities - in this case medical supplies. 

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7 hours ago, Chomper Higgot said:

As for private businesses being asked to build up supplies, where’s the profit in that?

It's simple, in a situation where everyone else runs out and you have 6 months of supplies remaining, you're the number one supplier.

 

6 weeks, lol

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it like the scaremongering over the windows year 2000 bug ..in the end it never happened

 

brexiteers can afford to be smug when it all goes off without a hitch            in december

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