Government to put £3 million into no-deal contingency plan for medicine transport
£3 million is to be set aside by The Department of Health and Social Care to transport medication should the UK leave the EU without a deal.
The result would be an “express freight service” for the transportation of vital medicines, blood and body tissue for transplant, according to Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington.
Addressing Parliament, Lidington said: "This will be an urgent contingency measure for products requiring urgent delivery, within a 24-48 hour timeframe, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal."
However, the allotted timeframe to put the plans in place,by September 1, will be “tight” according to government contract expert Gus Tugendhat, with the current deadline for EU withdrawal in any scenario set for October 31.
Tugendhat is the founder of Tussell, a data provider on UK government contracts.
Andrew Dean, director of public law at Clifford Chance, echoed Tugendhat’s comments, saying that although there is ample time to run an effective procurement process, the deadline for EU withdrawal would make it “tricky”.
Lidington reassured Parliament that the government would “only pay for capacity as and when it is needed and used”.
The Department for Health and Social Care hopes that the contingency plan will allow patients to continue to receive vital medicine which might require specialist transportation in a no-deal scenario.
The government has already begun taking stockpiling measures and pledged to assist firms with paperwork at the UK border, with smaller pharmaceutical companies more likely to require assistance compared to larger firms who will have plans in place.