The government is expecting to spend around £1m on refrigerated storage for medicine stockpiles in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
In answer to a parliamentary question on cold drug storage, Stephen Hammond, minister of state for health and social care, said contract agreements for storage facilities for stockpiled medicines “have recently been signed or will be signed imminently”.
The contract, which was put out to tender in October 2018, will provide capacity for “53,000 pallets of ambient storage, 5,000 pallets of refrigerated storage and 850 pallets of controlled-drug storage” from the beginning of February 2019 for 12–18 months, he said.
Hammond added: “This is expected to cost the government in the low tens of millions of pounds with the refrigerated storage expected to cost circa £1m.”
Health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, previously told MPs that refrigerated storage could cost “tens of millions”, but Hammond’s written answer clarified that this would include other types of storage too.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) previously told The Pharmaceutical Journal in December 2018 that drugs companies were being asked to maintain a rolling six-week stockpile for six months if the UK left the EU without a deal.
In his parliamentary answer, Hammond also admitted that that the DHSC would still have to pay for “some capital costs already incurred by the contractors in the event of a deal being approved by parliament”.
He said: “In that scenario, warehouse providers are required to decommission the additional capacity.
“The department has also put in place measures to minimise precommitted expenditure in the event of a deal being achieved.”