Brexit: stress test for pharmaceutical companies

Every month, 45 million packs of medicinal products make their way from the UK to the EU, while 37 million packs make their journey in the opposite direction across the Channel. There are no other figures that demonstrate so well the close interdependence between Great Britain and the other EU Member States. The United Kingdom is a particularly important global player in the pharmaceutical sector. Accordingly, its standing still remains high within the EU. A visible sign of this is the location of the European authorization authority EMA in London. But this is in the process of change. Following the Brexit vote by the British people, the European Medicines Agency has to relocate to Amsterdam in March 2019.

Symbolhafte Darstellung des Brexits: Aus einem Kreis aufgeklebter gelber Sterne auf einer blauen Wand fällt ein Stern auf den Boden und offenbart auf seiner Rückseite den Union Jack.

Unresolved technical issues

This will make Brexit a multiple stress test for pharmaceutical companies! All authorizations and approvals for medicinal products and also clinical studies, where the proprietor is located in Great Britain, will have to be transferred to an EU Member State. And all this under time pressure because, according to the EU treaties, Brexit will come into force at the end of March 2019 and the European Medicines Agency will relocate at the same time. Although many issues in the medicinal products sector have to be resolved quickly, the political negotiations on what shape BREXIT will take have been stalled for months now. This is also slowing down progress. Basically, if matters do not move forward, many technical issues that need to be resolved will simply be put on ice.

Careful disentanglement

The very close interdependence between Europe and Great Britain concerning the manufacture and sale of medicines and the conduct of clinical trials cannot be terminated simply by pressing a button: it is far better and more responsible to employ a careful approach in disentangling vital areas such as the supply of medicinal products. For this reason, pharmaceutical research companies believe an extended transition period is urgently required before BREXIT takes effect.