Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), artificial breathing devices, and other medical supplies in the United Kingdom has increased exponentially. Companies importing medical goods from EU to UK must follow the proper procedures. Here’s what you’ll need to bring in medication from a country such as Germany or the Netherlands.
All import processes require an EORI number. If you have been using an EORI number from another EU country, you will need to obtain one expressly for the UK. If you want to import into England, Wales, or Scotland, you must obtain an EORI number beginning with GB. You can import to Northern Ireland using your EU EORI number or get a new one beginning with XI.
The next step is getting a VAT certificate. Businesses that do not have VAT certificates incur higher import duties and taxes; therefore it is a good idea to get this done before you begin importing.
Imports such as PPEs and medical devices have to have the CE marking, except for pharmaceuticals. This marking indicates that:
Before shipping medical goods from an EU country, ensure that the manufacturer or an authorised representative within the EEA has carried out a conformity assessment, drawn up the technical file, issued the EC declaration of conformity(DoC) and placed a CE mark on the product. The CE marking should be:
Medical products are considered “difficult to classify” and fall under several tariff chapters.
Medicaments such as tablets and capsules packed in measured doses or for retail use fall under heading 3004. If the medication contains active ingredients but is not quantified, it goes under heading 3003. For example:
Heading 3002 covers immunological products like antibodies and vaccines, for instance ;
Find the commodity codes for medical equipment and implantable medical devices in chapter 90 e.g.:
Medical consumables and supplies go under heading 3005. For example:
Heading 3005 excludes certain products which instead fall under heading 3006 such as:
To import PPEs such as face masks, and sanitising products, use the codes:
Medical products coming from the EU are eligible for a tariff preference (i.e. zero VAT and import duty). Still, you must submit proof of origin to get this preferential rate.
For pharmaceutical deliveries headed to England, Wales, or Scotland, you must declare them to UK customs. However, HMRC will not ask for a declaration for goods travelling to Northern Ireland. Submitting an import declaration by yourself can be costly and time-consuming; therefore, it’s a good idea to let a specialist freight forwarder or courier act as your customs agent.