Medicine and medical product supply chains could experience “severe extended delays” for up to six months in the “worst case” scenario after the UK leaves the EU, according to a government report.
The report, dated 2 August 2019, warns that cross-channel traffic at the short straits could be immediately reduced by between 40% and 60% for three months after Brexit, but could continue for up to six months.
The predictions come in the Yellowhammer papers, detailing the government’s planning for no-deal Brexit, which it was forced to publish on 11 September 2019 following a vote by cross-party MPs.
The report lays out the “worst case” scenario if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and has been published after similar warnings were leaked in a document outlining the “base scenario” on 18 August 2019.
“The reliance of medicines and medical products’ supply chains on the short straits crossing make them particularly vulnerable to severe extended delays; three-quarters of medicines come via the short straits,” the report said.
“Whilst some products can be stockpiled, others cannot due to short shelf lives — it will also not be practical to stockpile products to cover expected delays of up to six months.”
The report also warned that other risks — which include seasonal flu — could make the predicted impacts even worse and “stretch resources of partners and responders”.
It added that the Department of Health and Social care is “developing a multi-layered approach to mitigate these risks.”