P owns a business which supplies medical kit like syringes and sterile gloves.
When my brother and I started our company in 1997, the world was a very different place.
We both needed a new career path, and the idea to start our company was hatched - I came from the trading floors of the city and he came from a role as a medical rep. We hired an office on a small business park and started calling potential customers and suppliers: that was the start of our business journey.
We soon realised that we needed an edge over our competitors and looking for similar stock in Europe was the edge we needed to make us more competitive. I had been on holiday in France and had picked up a business Yellow Pages from the hotel we stayed in, and when I returned, we started calling the companies listed under medical supplies. We were looking for companies willing to sell us good quality medical products.
Before long we were placing orders. Companies in France, Germany and Italy were selling us products at a good price that we could sell on, making a margin which enabled us to grow the business rapidly. We bought products cheaper than they were for sale in the UK. We placed the order, paid the pro-forma invoice, and the goods were picked up and delivered to us a week later.
No borders, no tariffs, and because of common product standards there were no issues on product quality. The medical disposables sector benefits from using the CE mark. It is quite simply a massive part of making sure we use quality products. Thankfully we don't need to worry about sub-standard products entering our market because of the CE marking process that companies have to go through to legally sell these products in the EU market. Without quality standards on products, problem products can enter the supply chain.
The EU has been a massive positive in raising medical standards across the whole of the UK. If the UK crashes out of the EU, who will monitor the pharmaceutical and medical product standards that are entering the UK? After all, CE marked products protect us all.
98% of medical devices supplied into the NHS are from SMEs. There is currently a huge concern that these SMEs are being asked to stockpile the products they supply. Many simply don’t have the cashflow to cope, and an unknown number are willing to gamble that stockpiling is not needed. That is a huge risk to all our health. The government is offering no support whatsoever; a truly worrying situation for us all. Importantly for our customers, we save them money, and in return they are saving the NHS money as this in most cases is their end client.
There are thousands of companies like us innovating and driving NHS costs down: let’s not risk that.
So - do you really want you and your loved ones taking and using products that are sub-standard, and in extreme cases could cause much bigger issues than the ones you are trying to cure?
We are stronger and safer working together with our EU friends and neighbours and that’s down to common standards and objectives with zero barriers to trade.