Thursday 19th Sep 2019 - Logistics Manager Magazine

DHSC plans £25m emergency medicine contract

The Department of Health and Social Care has set out plans for a £25 million express freight contract to deliver medicines and medical products into the country after the UK leaves the European Union on 31st October.

The fact that the DHSC was working on a plan was revealed last month in a notice in TED, the European Union’s Tenders Electronic Daily (Logistics Manager, 8th July).

The department said 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 the majority of 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. Potential bidders have until 21 August to submit proposals. The successful provider(s) are expected to be announced in September.

The DHSC said the service will provide an additional level of contingency as part of 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.

The new service will support existing plans already in place, including:

– building buffer stocks of medicines and medical products

– changing or clarifying regulatory requirements so that companies can continue to sell their products in the UK if we have no deal

– strengthening the process and resources used to deal with shortages

– procuring additional warehouse capacity

– supporting companies to improve the readiness of their logistics and supply chains to meet the new customs and border requirements for both import and export

Health Minister Chris Skidmore said: “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.”