PM May announces Brexit plan, BioIndustry Association CEO reacts

pharmafile | January 18, 2017 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing Theresa May, brexit 

After months of uncertainty following the UK’s vote to leave the EU, Theresa May has finally announced the first inklings of the government’s Brexit plan in a speech on Tuesday.

May confirmed that the UK government plans to leave the Single Market and Customs Union, while placing the life sciences sector as one of the key principles of the country’s exports and at the forefront of Brexit negotiations, while promising to continue collaboration with Europe on science and technology initiatives.

Steve Bates, CEO of the BioIndustry Association, had a lot to say on the news:

“I welcome the fact that delivering a leading role for science and innovation is one of the Prime Minister’s key guiding principles for the Brexit negotiation. The increased certainty where possible from the speech is also useful for business planning. It’s good to see that the Prime Minister understands the need to “continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives” and includes our sector as one that will remain in the forefront of collective endeavours to make better the world in which we live.”

“Drugs are the part of NHS care most integrated with the European Union and therefore drug regulation will need the closest attention to avoid a disruptive cliff edge for patients in both the UK and EU. Here I believe the process of, and industry expertise made available to, the UK government through the work of the UK EU Life Science Steering committee should be useful.”

“Medicines regulation is an area in which Britain and the remaining member states have adhered to the same rules for more than 40 years, so fits the Prime Minister’s criteria for being an area “where it makes no sense to start again from scratch” and may be a “specific European programme” in which the UK “might want to participate”.”

“Getting an early deal on the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain is a challenge I would encourage the Prime Minister to resolve as soon as possible.”

Bates earlier this week criticised new NICE proposals to change the way the organisation judges the cost-effectiveness of new drugs, particularly those in the ultra-rare disease sector, calling them “not fit for purpose”.

Matt Fellows

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