BIA responds to the new letter from Government on the medicine supply contingency plan programme

Today the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has written to pharmaceutical companies to update them on progress made on human medicines supply in March 2019 “no deal scenario” with some updates to the Government planning assumptions. The letter is available here.

BIA CEO, Steve Bates, said: “UK life sciences companies know that patients are at the end of their supply-chains and for over two years have been doing all they can to ensure that UK patients will continue to get their medicines whatever Brexit outcome occurs.  

In the 105 days since 24th August companies have worked hard on this massive challenge to put in place plans to ensure a minimum of six weeks additional supply in the UK, over and above existing business-as-usual buffer stocks, by 29 March 2019. It’s welcome to see industry’s hard work and support on this is recognised by the government.

“Today’s letter makes clear that the six-week stockpiling activities now needs to be supplemented with additional actions as the cross-Government planning assumptions have been revised. The letter states that there will be significantly reduced access across the shorts straits (Dover/Calais), for up to six months. It makes no specific additional request on companies, but provides very limited information on what additional actions the government is planning beyond working to ensure that there is sufficient roll-on, roll-off freight capacity and that medicines and medical products will be prioritised on alternative routes.

“With just 117 days to Brexit day industry’s work on “no deal” scenario is ongoing.  Industry continues to work closely with government to meet their request to stockpile six weeks additional medicines supplies, provide contingencies for those medicines that can’t be stockpiled and provide life sciences expertise to support government contingency planning for any additional and ongoing border delays.

“A ‘no deal’ Brexit would mean the biggest dis-integration of the complex regulated medicines market across Europe in terms of regulation, cross border movement of goods, comparative pricing and intellectual property. On behalf of patients we encourage all participants to be as prepared as possible for a scenario industry really does not want. We should be under no illusions that this will be easy or smooth and today the challenge of ensuring UK medicine supply through 2019 in a No Deal Brexit scenario got harder not easier.”


Contact: Ed Sexton, BIA Communications Manager [email protected] 0207 630 2196

About the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA)
Established over 25 years ago at the infancy of biotechnology, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) is the trade association for innovative enterprises involved in UK bioscience. Members include emerging and more established bioscience companies; pharmaceutical companies; academic, research and philanthropic organisations; and service providers to the bioscience sector. The BIA represents the interests of its members to a broad section of stakeholders, from government and regulators to patient groups and the media. Our goal is to secure the UK's position as a global hub and as the best location for innovative research and commercialisation, enabling our world-leading research base to deliver healthcare solutions that can truly make a difference to people's lives. For further information, please go to and

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