Sanofi builds 14-week stock of medicine in UK due to ‘uncertainty’ of Brexit negotiations

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Iuaeva)
(Image: Getty/Iuaeva)

Related tags Sanofi Brexit Astrazeneca

Sanofi has written to the UK’s health secretary and the chief executive of the NHS to inform them that the company is stockpiling drugs ahead of the deadline for Brexit.

In an emailed statement, Sanofi UK’s managing director, Hugo Fry, stated that the “uncertainty in the Brexit negotiations means that [it] has been planning for a ‘no deal’ scenario”​.

Additionally, Fry revealed that the company is arranging additional warehouse capacity to house the stockpile of medicine that it will hold prior to the Brexit deadline. In all, the company plans to build a 14-week stock of medicine – an additional four weeks above its usual emergency measures.

This decision was due to the ‘potential delays’ that the company expects to be confronted with in a no deal situation.

In terms of how its manufacturing operations in the UK will be impacted, Fry outlined: “Sanofi is transferring some Qualified Person release and Quality Control testing activities from its Haverhill manufacturing facility in Suffolk to alternative sites in the EU27.  We will be transferring Qualified Person release, Quality Control testing and Label and Packaging for all medicines destined for the EU.”

He went on to clarify, “There will be no changes to Haverhill’s current manufacturing operations and it will continue all other activities for medicines destined for markets outside the European Union.”

Fry suggested that the pre-emptive nature of the amassing of medicine was necessary to ensure that there was no disruption in the medicine supply after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Pharma industry takes precautions

Sanofi is not the first company that has publically announced that it is stockpiling medicine ahead of the Brexit deadline. Last month​, AstraZeneca (AZ) also announced that it would be increasing its supply of medicine in the UK by 20%.

In addition to stockpiling, AZ revealed that the company had also earmarked £40m ($52m) to cover costs of planning and implementing measures to mitigate any potential impacts of Brexit on its business.

However, a recent survey by the European Medicines Agency revealed that a number of companies​ are not yet prepared for the eventualities of a no deal Brexit.

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