2nd March, 2018


Brexit Poses Product Supply Threat to UK Patients

The majority of imported health technologies used by the NHS come from the EU, the Association of British Healthcare Industries can reveal. The data illustrates the importance of getting post-Brexit trading relationships right for UK patients.

An in-depth study of HMRC’s database, “UK Trade Info”, has shown that of the £5billion worth of health technology used in the NHS in 2016, £3.2billion came directly from the EU. Reliance on this source has also increased by 20% in recent years.

Complex, international supply chains mean that products can move across a currently frictionless UK / EU border many times in their lifecycle, for sourcing, assembly, packaging and sterilisation. The impact of delays and disruption to this process could pose a significant risk to patients if not correctly managed.

Commenting on the analysis, ABHI CEO Peter Ellingworth said: “The nature of supply chains for HealthTech is such that even goods manufactured in the UK are often, ultimately supplied to the NHS from distribution centres in the EU. It is vital, therefore, that we have sensible trading agreements in place the moment we leave the EU.”

 The UK also exports around £2billion of health technologies to the EU, a market that ABHI Members identified in a recent business survey as a major target for growth in 2018. The same delays and disruptions pose a threat to the health of patients throughout Europe.

The industry body is calling for all products used in healthcare to be exempt from any new customs, tariff or VAT arrangements, and afforded pre-shipping clearance and fast track access across any new EU/UK borders.

About ABHI

The Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) is the industry association for the medical technology sector in the UK. ABHI’s mission is to champion the benefits and use of safe and effective medical technologies to deliver high quality patient outcomes. With 270 members, ABHI leads the advocacy of the industry in order to advance access to medical technology. Our membership includes some of the leading multinational businesses in the sector in the UK right the way through to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

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