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UK and EU life sciences demand closer collaboration in joint letter to Brexit negotiators

Published on 13/07/17 at 09:47am

The pharmaceutical and life sciences industries have stressed the importance of cooperation between the EU and the UK in order to ensure patients maintain wide access to safe medicines, making their voices heard in a joint letter to European Commission Chief Negotiator Michael Barnier and Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis.

To this end, the letter reads: "Securing agreement is the best way of ensuring that patients across Europe and the UK are able to continue to access safe and effective medicines and to ensure that there is no adverse impact on public health."

The release of the document comes after UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Business Secretary Greg Clark stated that the UK would be seeking a close relationship with the EU regarding drug approvals throughout the Brexit negotiations and beyond. It asserts that, in the absence of clear goals or direction on the subject of securing drug access, supply chains could be broken and patients denied the medicines they need: "... I​n the case of an unorderly withdrawal there is a risk that all goods due to be moved between the UK and EU could be held either at border checks, in warehouses or manufacturing and/or subject to extensive retesting requirements. In fact, this would lead to a severe disruption of most companies’ supply chains, which would lead to potential supply disruptions of life-saving medicines."​

“An implementation period that adequately reflects the time needed by pharmaceutical and biotech companies to transition to a new framework should be agreed on by negotiators. This will allow companies time to make the necessary arrangements to avoid any unintended consequences on the availability of the medicines,” the letter continues.

The letter was signed by a number of industry associations including the ABPI, British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA), BioIndustry Association (BIA), The Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB), The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA),   The Association of the European Self-Medication Industry (AESGP), EuropaBio, and Medicines for Europe.

Matt Fellows

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