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Prescribing: New service to deliver urgent medicine to the UK

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The availability of medicine is in doubt The availability of medicine could be in doubt in the event of a no-deal Brexit

The Department of Health and Social Care has outlined a £25 million contract to set up an express freight service to deliver medicines and medical products into the country.

The department is leading a procurement exercise for an express freight service as part of the government’s plans to support continuity of supply when the UK leaves the EU on 31 October.

The service is intended to deliver small parcels of medicines or medical products on a 24-hour basis, with additional provision to move larger pallet quantities on a 2- to 4-day basis. The service will be available to the whole of the UK.

While most goods will be standard medicines and medical products, the express freight service can also deliver temperature-controlled products if needed. The contract will run for 12 months, with a possible further 12-month extension.

‘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,’ said Health Minister Chris Skidmore.

‘That’s why we are stepping up preparations and strengthening our already extremely resilient contingency plans. 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 service will provide an additional level of contingency as part of necessary preparations to leave the EU on 31 October whatever the circumstances, supported by an additional £2 billion from the Treasury across government.

This money includes £434 million to help ensure continuity of vital medicines and medical products through freight capacity, warehousing and stockpiling.

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