The delivery company UPS is one of three transport firms to be given contracts worth a total of £25m to ensure medicines can be delivered quickly if Brexit goes ahead at the end of October 2019.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has awarded the contracts to UPS, DFDS and Biocair, to provide access to a range of specialist services, including hand-delivered courier services if needed.
In a statement published on 16 October 2019, the DHSC said the service will provide delivery on small shipments, including temperature-controlled or hazardous products, within 24 hours or within 48 hours for larger shipments.
The service is expected to support the government’s “multi-layered” approach to Brexit contingency planning, which also includes stockpiling six weeks’ worth of medicines in the UK.
Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said the express freight service “is an important contingency plan that will help our members continue their preparations — alongside the stockpiles they have already built and alternative freight routes they have secured”.
Matt Hancock, the health and social care secretary, added that the service “will get urgent supplies and short-shelf-life medicines, like radioisotopes for cancer treatments, rapidly into the country, including by plane where necessary”.
“We now have detailed plans in place for every medicine — including those with short shelf lives,” he added.