A report by the UK Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS) has stressed the need for a post-Brexit deal for the pharmaceutical industry to avoid harming patients and maintain current footprint in the sector.
Titled ‘The impact of Brexit on the pharmaceutical sector’, the report revealed that leaving the EU without an agreement would diminish access to markets, including £11.9bn of exports and to more than 446 million potential patients and consumers in the EU.
It predicts that patients may find it harder to access to medicines as about 75% of UK pharmaceutical imports come from the EU.
The regulatory divergence from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) would mean that companies would need to have facilities and operations in both the UK and EU.
BEIS noted that the separation, barriers to trade and duplicate regulations could lead to increased drug prices, making the UK unappealing for new and innovative medicines.
The committee said that pursuing a deal with the EMA is required for continued access to markets. It recommends that the government seeks to retain a presence for the EMA in the UK after the agency relocates to Amsterdam.
BEIS chair Rachel Reeves 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 government must do all it can to reach an agreement that not only protects the UK’s status as a world leader for pharmaceuticals but also allows patients across the continent to continue to be provided with the medicines they need.”