The pharma industry's response to PM’s latest Brexit speech

Published: 2-Mar-2018

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) – representing global pharmaceutical businesses in the UK including GSK, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Roche – has responded to the ‘Road to Brexit’ speech by Prime Minister Theresa May

In a speech given 2 March, the Prime Minister stated:

  • "[Britain] wants to make sure our regulators continue to work together; as they do with regulators internationally."
  • "We will want to explore with the EU, the terms on which the UK could remain part of EU agencies such as those that are critical for the chemicals, medicines and aerospace industries."
  • "Membership of the European Medicines Agency would mean investment in new innovative medicines continuing in the UK, and it would mean these medicines getting to patients faster as firms prioritise larger markets when they start the lengthy process of seeking authorisations."
  • "We want as frictionless a border as possible between us & the EU - so that we don’t damage the integrated supply chains our industries depend on."

Reacting to the speech, Chief Executive of the ABPI, Mike Thompson said:

  • "Every month, 45 million packs of medicines move from the UK to the EU and 37 million come the other way. That is why the Prime Minister’s commitment to seek cooperation on medicines regulation would be the best outcome for patients, not just in the UK but across Europe.
  • "It’s now critical that both sides prioritise patient safety in phase two of the negotiations. Delivering close cooperation on the regulation of medicines is only one part of the challenge. Making sure the supply of medicines is uninterrupted is essential to ensure patients in the UK and EU can get the medicines they need from day one of Brexit."

The pharmaceutical industry’s policy priorities for Brexit are:

  • Securing a transition period. This should be a single-step transition that adequately reflects the time needed by pharmaceutical companies to transition to a new framework.
  • Securing co-operation with the EU on the regulation of medicines. This should achieve alignment between the UK and EU regulatory framework, to deliver proportionate, robust and effective regulation of medicines in the UK.
  • Securing the ability to freely trade and move medicines and pharmaceutical supplies across borders. This should be ‘frictionless’ and include access to free trade agreements already in place between third countries and the EU.
  • Securing access to the best talent. This should achieve an immigration system which allows global pharmaceutical companies to attract and transfer talented and skilled students, scientists and other professionals from around the world.
  • Securing predictable access to funding and collaboration for scientific research. This should achieve agreements on existing and future funding and collaboration opportunities such as Horizon 2020 (and its successor), including the Innovative Medicines Initiative. UK life science entrepreneurs should also be able to access the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund.

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