NOAH: Businesses remain “very concerned” regarding Brexit planning

NOAH said it welcomes the publication of the first of government’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit planning notices but stresses that business remains very concerned about the lack of sufficient time to execute a smooth EU Exit process without interruption to the availability of vital veterinary medicines.

NOAH chair Gaynor Hillier said: “The production and supply of veterinary medicines is totally dependent on complex international supply chains that must continue to function effectively after Brexit, their unique status being recognised in the recent government White Paper.

“Raw materials will need to arrive at manufacturing sites and veterinary medicines will need to be transported across borders to meet market requirements. Any border delays, additional complex processes or increased costs will risk medicines availability for UK vets, farmers and all our animals.”

Companies have been carrying out extensive Brexit contingency planning, covering all aspects of their supply chains, from regulatory compliance and stocking levels to logistics and customs. But, according to a recent NOAH member survey, less than 15% of companies say they are prepared for a ‘hard Brexit’ with the vast majority of respondents saying they are not fully prepared should there be a reversion to WTO rules on March 30, 2019.

Ms Hillier said: “This is neither through lack of effort, nor unawareness of the need to act, but due to the magnitude of the complex tasks involved in such a specialist sector. Furthermore, because government has not yet set out the exact arrangements that will operate in the UK in case of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, it is very hard for industry to be sure that they are sufficiently prepared.”

In contrast, almost 60% of companies are prepared for a transition period to December 2020. Even then, the proposed transition period will not be enough in some cases.

Ms Hillier added: “To make informed business decisions, clarity is urgently needed about the detail of how this will operate. The survey examined product availability in the UK: almost 55% of respondents reported potential availability issues for the UK market impacting more than 40% of their products.

“The full spectrum of types of products (from vaccines to painkillers: from antibiotics to wormers) across all animal species (farm, equine and pet) are potentially at risk, with particular concerns raised around the supply chain for vaccines.”

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