European pharma body warns of Brexit drug supply risk to EU

20 March 2019 (Last Updated March 20th, 2019 12:23)

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has raised concerns regarding the post-Brexit supply of medicines from the UK to the European Union (EU).

European pharma body warns of Brexit drug supply risk to EU
EFPIA highlighted a risk of diminished medicines supply from the UK to patients within the EU. Credit: freestocks.org on Unsplash.

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has raised concerns regarding the post-Brexit supply of medicines from the UK to the European Union (EU).

The organisation represents the pharmaceutical industry operating across Europe.

Concern has been rising in the UK over access to drugs in the event of no-deal, with the government planning to stockpile medicines to avoid any interruptions.

However, EFPIA highlighted a risk of diminished supply from the UK to patients within the EU.

EFPIA president and German pharma company Merck chief executive Stefan Oschmann said that approximately one billion packs of medicines cross the UK-EU border each year, including around 45 million each month from the UK to the EU.

In order to address hindrances to the supply chain, the organisation has urged European governments to recognise medicines and medical devices tested in the UK.

Financial Times added that EFPIA called for focus on passage of medical products at borders.

“Approximately one billion packs of medicines cross the UK-EU border each year, including around 45 million each month from the UK to the EU.

The organisation said that if the transfer of medicines testing facilities from the UK to the EU could not be completed by the Brexit deadline of 30 March, the EU and its member states should allow the use of medicines quality tested in the UK.

In addition, medical devices used with medicines that currently have UK certified CE-Marks should also be recognised for use in the EU in the short term.

Oschmann noted that nearly two-thirds of pharmaceutical companies consider border disruption as a major concern. He called for steps to prioritise medicines, active pharmaceutical ingredients, raw and clinical trial materials.

According to the European Commission and European Medicines Agency, any action to resolve these issues is a matter for member states.

Oschmann noted: “It is our belief that action at the EU level is the simplest and most consistent route to secure the necessary temporary flexibility on behalf of the member states in the best interests of patients and public health.”

The EFPIA president went on to say that protection of industries such as fisheries and finance has been prioritised, but public health and the supply of medicines to patients should also be protected.