A Withdrawal Agreement has been reached by Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet on some of the terms regarding healthcare for Brexit. These terms have been welcomed by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), which represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, and the Brexit Heath Alliance (BHA), which represents the NHS, research, industry, patients and public health organisations. However, both have also suggested the terms are only the start of what needs to be done. This has been highlighted following votes against the deal in parliament and the recent resignation of multiple ministers.
Terms include that there would be no tariffs on goods and goods licensed before the transition period will continue to be circulated in the EU. It was also discussed that existing rights of UK and EU citizens would be maintained and the new system would include arrangements for reciprocal professional qualifications. There would also be data sharing during the transition period.
Co-chair of the Alliance, Niall Dickson, stated:
“If this were delivered – and that is a big if – it would remove the uncertainty of a no deal and all the risks that would have for patients in the UK and indeed in Europe… It would mean that industry and the NHS can be confident that the supply of medicines and other vital supplies will not be disrupted from March next year…This would only be the start of the process – apart from the obvious uncertainty as to whether it will be approved by the UK and EU Parliaments, the detailed nature of the long-term relationship still needs to be decided.”
Chief executive of the ABPI, Mike Thompson, stated:
“We welcome this important step towards securing a Brexit deal… Agreeing a transition period will mean that our members can continue to supply medicines to patients without delay or disruption come March 2019. There’s much to build on. But there’s more work to be done. We are committed to working with the UK and the EU so that close cooperation on scientific research and medicines regulation are central to a future partnership agreement for the benefit of all.”
Read the ABPI response here.