Cross-EU drug supply chain to be most affected post Brexit: Poll

21st January 2021 (Last Updated February 5th, 2021 09:21)

The UK’s decision to opt out of the European Union (EU) has set numerous industries up for disruptions especially after the official exit in January 2020.

The UK’s decision to opt out of the European Union (EU) has set numerous industries up for disruptions especially after the official exit in January 2020.

Verdict has conducted a poll to assess the areas of the UK healthcare industry that would be most impacted by Brexit.

Analysis of the poll results show that cross-EU drug supply chain will be affected the most, as opined by a majority of 49% of the respondents.

UK health industry post Brexit

Regulatory implications of the UK leaving the EU, funding for research and manufacturing, and increased drug pricing were voted as the next most affected by Brexit, according to 47%, 46% and 40% of the respondents respectively.

Further, 39% of the respondents voted for attracting talent across the life sciences sectors to be affected the most, while 38% opined that reduction in number of clinical trials conducted in the UK will be affected and 37% voted that imposition of trade tariffs will be the most affected.

Increased cost of clinical trials, delayed drug approval, and delayed access to novel health technologies and therapies are the other areas of the UK healthcare industry to be most affected by Brexit, as voted respectively by 34%, 31% and 29% of the respondents.

The analysis is based on 235 responses received from the readers of Pharmaceutical Technology, a Verdict network site, between 15 September 2020 and 12 January 2021.

Impact of Brexit on the UK healthcare industry

On 24 December 2020, the UK and EU arrived at a provisional free-trade agreement to allow the two sides to trade goods without tariffs or quotas, although key details of the agreement, including trade in services, remain uncertain.

While under the new agreement, it seems that only services may be affected, customs duty and border checks are expected to make goods exports and imports costlier and the trade process lengthier.

UK-based pharmaceutical companies may have to adhere to European regulations to market their products in the EU. The UK will lose single marketing authorisation through the European Medicines Association (EMA), which could slow down the approval process for medicines.

The UK may also have to initiate alternate clinical trial regulations thereby making the drug development process too complex, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.