Pharma calls for ‘no deal’ preparation after Brexit deal rejected

Pharma has called for politicians to take action to ensure patient safety in the event of a ‘no deal’ situation, after the UK parliament’s historic decision to reject prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal last night.

May now faces a confidence vote in the House of Commons that could lead to a general election if she loses out.

But amid the political chaos European pharma is calling for action to ensure patients across the EU and UK receive their medications in the case of the increasingly likely ‘no deal’ situation when Brexit happens in March.

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) said there is a “very real, tangible, and immediate” threat to patient safety and public health in the UK and Europe because of  a “disorderly” Brexit.

Nathalie Moll

Director general Nathalie Moll said: “Now is the time for policy makers in the UK and the EU to put politics aside and put measures in place to prevent patients being harmed by the consequences of Brexit.

“In particular from disruption to the supply of medicines including from transport delays at the border and where the development, manufacture, packaging, safety testing and regulation of the medicine no longer benefits from mutual recognition.”

EFPIA is calling negotiators to take a series of actions that need to be taken to protect patients.

These include allowing the EU to recognise UK-based drug quality testing, at least until it can be transferred to the EU.

Other measures include fast track lanes or priority routes for medicines into ports and airports, and allowing paperwork and regulatory checks to be completed away from the physical border.

The European Air Safety Authority should recognise certificates issued in the UK to ensure that planes can continue to fly, EFPIA added.

Active pharmaceutical ingredients, and raw materials for medicines could also be exempted from border checks to ensure manufacturing continues with limited disruption, EFPIA added.

The full list of actions has been published on the EFPIA website.

Speaking on behalf of UK pharma, Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (APBI), said: “The focus of pharmaceutical companies is on making sure that medicines and vaccines get to patients whatever the Brexit outcome. This includes stockpiling and duplicating manufacturing processes here and in Europe. We continue to work as closely as possible with Government on no deal planning.

“But we reiterate that ‘no deal’ would prove to be extremely challenging. With time running out we hope Parliament will come together and quickly find a solution to the stalemate and reassure patients that medicines will not be disrupted come March 2019.”

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