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Pharma Industry Associations Air Their Concerns Following Rejection of Brexit Deal

Posted on January 23rd, 2019 by in Pharma R&D

Brexit New

There has always been a special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom that gives the two nations a unique connection. Unfortunately, lately, the two have also shared quite a bit of upheaval and uncertainty in their respective governments. America is currently enduring its longest-ever government shutdown, while the UK continues wrestling with the chaos of Brexit. As we discussed in an earlier post, the US shutdown is having an impact on drug approvals and patient safety. But is Brexit also causing trouble in pharma-land?

That’s a big yes.

The latest drama with Brexit came on January 15, when the UK parliament soundly rejected prime minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit withdrawal agreement in a vote of 432-202. Now, with the UK’s planned departure from the EU coming up on March 30, there are rising fears of what it could mean for the UK to exit with no deal in place.

Following the vote, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) wasted no time in making their concerns known:

“Now is the time for policy makers in the UK and the EU to put politics aside and put measures in place to prevent patients being harmed by the consequences of Brexit. In particular from disruption to the supply of medicines including from transport delays at the border and where the development, manufacture, packaging, safety testing and regulation of the medicine no longer benefits from mutual recognition,” said EFPIA Director General Nathalie Moll in a statement.

The statement included a list of actions that the EFPIA want negotiators to take to protect patients, including introducing measures to recognize UK-based testing, measures to ensure continued UK participation in data-sharing platforms that protect health and medicine safety, the temporary exception of medicines and clinical trial materials from new customs and border checks, and enabling regulatory checks to be completed away from the physical border, among others.

Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), also quickly released a statement following the vote, saying “The focus of pharmaceutical companies is on making sure that medicines and vaccines get to patients whatever the Brexit outcome. This includes stockpiling and duplicating manufacturing processes here and in Europe.”

Though he said ABPI is working with the government on no deal planning, he emphasized what a challenge ‘no deal’ would present: “With time running out we hope Parliament will come together and quickly find a solution to the stalemate and reassure patients that medicines will not be disrupted come March 2019.”

That is a sentiment widely shared by all, but what will happen next is uncertain. Pharmaceutical companies need to start planning now for all possible scenarios.


Sr. Manager, Pharma and Biotech Segment

Nicki Catchpole
Sr. Manager, Pharma and Biotech Segment

As a professional with over 14 years of experience in strategy development and partnership management across a variety of industries, Nicki’s latest role as a Senior Manager, Segment Marketing at Elsevier applies her skills to the area of drug discovery and development in the Pharma and Biotech industry.

In this capacity she is focused on understanding biopharmaceutical R&D challenges and turning them into opportunity to further Elsevier’s ability to serve industry executives and the professionals who innovate in the drug discovery and development space.  Prior to joining Elsevier, Nicki held senior alliance and strategy roles in the Legal, Tax & Accounting, Life Sciences and Cyber Security industries.

Nicki resides in New York City and holds a BA in English Literature and Mandarin Chinese from Carleton College in Northfield, MN.

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