Update on our Brexit Strategy
Roche in the UK has been preparing for all possible Brexit scenarios, including a ‘no-deal’ scenario, since the referendum in 2016. Our goal, regardless of the current uncertainty, is to mitigate any potential disruption to our customers and patients, including maintaining our strong supply chain and extensive clinical trials activity, and providing support to employees where necessary. We have implemented a series of measures to ensure as much as possible that people in the UK and mainland Europe continue to have access to medicines, diagnostics products and innovation.
For our pharmaceutical business, despite pressures from Covid-19, we hold strong stock levels across all products, in some cases up to six months' worth, as a matter of course. In planning for the end of the transition period, we have determined the level of inventory that is required on an individual product basis, taking into account the UK Government’s recommendations as part of the Medicines Supply Contingency Planning Programme. Consequently we continue to hold higher stock levels of our medicines than normal. We are also doing all we can to minimise the impact of the Northern Ireland protocol on the supply of medicines for patients there. On top of this, we are also using alternative ports across the UK for importing stock beyond the traditional Calais-Dover route to help minimise disruption.
For our diagnostics business we have been planning a multi-layered approach to Brexit for a considerable time and are prepared for any potential impact that arises at the end of the transition period.
We have made a significant investment to increase our normal stock holding to ensure we have six weeks of the vast majority of reagents and consumables, in line with Government guidelines. We will continue to order weekly replenishments from our Mannheim, Germany, warehouse and have plans to implement alternative shipping routes into the UK to mitigate border delays if needed.
There continues to be huge global demand for testing materials for SARS-CoV-2 and we are working to increase the stock volumes of these materials, to enable us to continue to meet our commitment to supply these vital products across the UK and Ireland.
We are working closely with our customers and asking them to order additional stock in December, to ensure they have a contingency surplus of critical products on site going into January 2021. In addition, we have appointed a customs broker and have registered for the Government-secured freight capacity and express delivery service.