UK Parliamentary Report Published on the Impact of Brexit on the Pharmaceutical Sector

23 May 2018

Industries: Life Sciences and Healthcare
Services: Health Law

by Jane Summerfield

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, a parliamentary select committee, has published a report on the consequences of Brexit on the UK pharmaceutical industry.

The report examines the impact of different outcomes of the UK/EU negotiations, including a “no deal” scenario, on tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers (e.g. border delays), regulatory alignment, trade opportunities, skilled workers, and research and development, as well as the proposed transitional arrangements. The key conclusions include:

  • To ensure the continued success of the UK pharmaceutical industry, the UK must seek the closest possibly regulatory cooperation and minimum border friction possible.
  • The UK should remain aligned with the regulatory standards in the EU.
  • Any potential benefits from Brexit such as quicker approval of medicines would be limited and “hugely outweighed” by the additional costs, loss of influence and loss of access to existing, successful markets and products.
  • The potential for weaker intellectual property regulation would be outweighed by the potential loss of investment in the UK and, conversely, the potential for stronger intellectual property protection would be outweighed by increased costs to the NHS and harm to the generic sector.
  • The UK is already a significant part of a global industry and there is no evidence of new trade routes that the UK could benefit from.
  • The best potential approach for the UK to grow as a world leader in the development, manufacture and regulation of pharmaceuticals is to maintain as close as possible a relationship with the EU.

The report also makes a number of recommendations that are intended to inform the Government’s negotiating position in the upcoming UK/EU trade negotiations. 

Read more on our HL regulation blog.