A new report published today has urged the UK government to align the pharmaceutical industry as closely as possible to European regulation when Brexit eventually happens.

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The report comes from the UK Parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee. Amidst fears that the UK pharmaceutical industry might suffer significant losses due to extraction from the EU, this report is a clear indication that Parliament agrees strongly. One would assume that Theresa May, UK Prime Minister, is well aware of industry’s wish to preserve the status quo. Back in March, she mentioned her wish to see some UK industries to retain EU regulation on the basis that the UK continues to make appropriate financial contributions to retain the services of the relevant agencies. Staying in the EU might have been an easier way to retain those services?

The report outlines the economic case for retaining some sort of alignment with the EU, highlighting the two-way trade relationship.

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said: “The Government’s own analysis identifies pharmaceuticals as the sector for which UK/EU market access is the most important given the industry is reliant on friction-free border movement for their products.  Any delays at the border faced by short-life pharmaceuticals for emergency treatments would have a hugely detrimental impact on patients.

“The Prime Minister has previously set out a positive and compelling case for continued cooperation on medicines, but, with the clock ticking, it is now time for the Government to end the uncertainty and translate words into actions. Some form of membership of the EMA is vital to the continued success of the pharma industry and to the welfare of British patients and the Government should strike a deal to keep some of the organisation’s jobs and facilities in the UK, to continue to share our world-leading expertise.”

A statement from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry supported the findings of the report, “Every month, 45 million packs of medicine move from the UK to the EU, with 37 million moving the other way. Today’s Select Committee Report is right – a Brexit ‘no deal’ would significantly damage public health, patient access to medicines and the UK’s leading pharmaceutical sector. This must be avoided at all costs. Securing cooperation on the regulation, trade and supply of medicines must be a priority for both the UK Government and the EU.”

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