The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has sent a letter to medicines and medical device companies to give advice and warnings on what to expect from the end of 2020.
From 23:00 on 31 December 2020, the UK will no longer be part of the EU Single Market and Customs Union; the Brexit Transition Period (TP) ends without extension. DHSC’s letter says:
“This will mean new border and customs procedures apply, regardless of whether the UK and EU agree the ambitious free trade agreement that the Government is seeking to negotiate. The Government has already announced it will implement new border controls in three stages leading up to full implementation in July 2021 with further detail set out in the Border Operating Model, published on 13 July.”
Despite the Government’s published intentions, the letter does not seek to reassure companies a trading deal will be reached with the EU by this date. Instead, the letter focusses on encouraging readiness for a number of outcomes by preparing several plans.
Companies are encouraged to re-route supply chains away from likely areas of congestion and delay, namely the “short-straits” (between Calais/Dunkirk/Coquelles and Dover/Folkestone).
DHSC also asks that companies work to support the Government’s ‘trader readiness’ activities, based around helping retailers and suppliers operate post-Brexit. For medicines and medical devices, this will mean responding to Government requests for information in a timely manner, for example in controlled drugs and cold-chain logistics.
Among other requests, the letter asks companies to build up stockpiles of medicines as done in 2019 and early 2020 (later depleted during COVID-19).
For more detail, read the letter in full here.