This week, the UK government was compelled to publish its projection of potential outcomes of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario.
A paper, entitled ‘Operation Yellowhammer: HMG Reasonable Worse Case Planning Assumptions’, sets out some of the industries likely to be impacted by a ‘hard Brexit’ and in what manner.
For the pharmaceutical industry, which has already begun preparing itself for such an eventuality with widespread stockpiling amongst the larger companies, the paper highlights that it is ‘particularly vulnerable’ due to its reliance on the Dover-Calais crossing.
The analysis notes that 75% of medicine arrives in the UK via the Dover crossing and this logistical bottleneck could lead to ‘significant disruption’ of up to six months.
Further than this, the paper reports that the highly regulated supply chain for the pharmaceutical industry throws up further problems for navigating potential delays. It provides examples of the limits on time of transmit for certain products and the necessity for some therapies to be transported under temperature-controlled conditions.
As a result, the release suggests that there is a limit to how useful stockpiling can be to ensure supply during potential delays of up to six months, but industry suggested it had been working on further means to address such issues.
In response to Yellowhammer report, Sheuli Porkess, director of research, medical and innovation at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said, “Companies have been planning for the scenarios in this report for many months, including increasing stocks and planning alternative supply routes where possible – stockpiling is just part of this detailed planning.
“Government measures have supported these preparations. Companies now need the practical detail on how some of these measures, like additional freight capacity, will work in practice.”
The call for more detail repeats another call by the ABPI, ahead of the previous deadline in March, for further detail.
The government had previously mooted air freight as a means of ensuring continuity of supply of medicine that has a short shelf life.