Life Sciences and Brexit – Intensive Care Needed?
On 12 July 2017, the Healthcare and Life Sciences team of FTI Consulting’s Brussels office hosted an event entitled, “Brexit and Life Sciences: Intensive Care Needed?”, bringing together experts from the UK and Brussels to discuss the impact of Brexit on the healthcare sector and what it means for businesses on both sides of the channel.
The panel was moderated by FTI Consulting’s Patricia Hewitt, who previously served as the UK Secretary of State for Health. Speakers included Mike Bewick, a senior clinical advisor to the Healthcare Solutions team at FTI Consulting, and former Deputy Medical Director of NHS England, Elizabeth Kuiper, Director for European Affairs at the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), David Earnshaw, head Public Policy Europe & Canada at MSD, and Gian Marco Currado, the social and environment counsellor, overseeing a wide range of areas, including healthcare, at the UK’s Permanent Representation to the EU (UKREP).
Practical Implications of Brexit for the Life Sciences Sector
While Brexit’s full effect will take time to emerge, there was a consensus in the room that the healthcare industry is braced for a period of uncertainty. Two key areas of concerns came out throughout the discussion:
- The healthcare sector is expecting a significant impact on market access and potential disruption in the availability of life-saving products to UK and European patients.
- Delays are not only expected due to the relocation of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) out of the UK, but also due to the need for companies to transfer say, UK-located licenses to a EU market, move pharmacovigilance functions, etc. which may be particularly challenging for small and mid-sized pharmaceutical companies.
Such delays could see leading international companies favouring the US Food and Drug Administration rather than the EMA for first authorisation of their products, thus impacting access to EU and UK markets and patients.