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            september 22, 2019

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UK seeks company to maintain critical medical supplies


The UK has put out for bidding a GBP25 million (US$30 million) contract for "express freight capability" in order to maintain the supply of critical, low volume medical devices and drugs, as it prepares for a possible no-deal Brexit when the nation leaves the European Union on October 31.
Through the contract, the government hopes to gain the ability to ship small parcels into the UK on a 24-hour basis and transit larger pallets within four days to ensure critical products reach patients even if the traditional routes into the country become clogged due to customs checks and other issues sparked by Brexit, reported MedTech Dive.
The government hopes to award the contract next month and have the service fully operational by October 24, giving it a week to test the supply route.
Chief executive Mike Thompson of UK pharma trade group ABPI said in a statement that companies want to see "detail of how this extra freight capacity will work in practice".
The contract also features smaller lots covering the shipment of up to 200 pallets and the transport of sensitive materials, such as temperature-controlled products and radioactive isotopes.
The government does not have a preferred method for how a shipper gets the products into the country, stating that the winning bidder may use "any mode of transport, subject to these being compatible with the transit timescale requirements, conditions of carriage and the effective mitigation of foreseeable disruption to services."
In practice, that will mean the contract is unlikely to cover the main routes into the UK, such as the passage between Dover and Calais. Rather, the shipper will use a route less likely to be blocked in the fallout from a no-deal Brexit, such as air travel.
While the UK government is arranging the transport, the companies that use the shipping service will bear the brunt of the costs. The government will cover 15 per cent of the cost of the contract.

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