Senior ministers call for 'continued collaboration' with EU on drug regulation

Posted On: 
4th July 2017

The UK wants to find a way to continue working with the EU on drug regulation after Brexit, two senior Cabinet ministers have said. 

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In a letter to the Financial Times, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Business Secretary Greg Clark say the Government "would like to find a way to continue to collaborate with the EU, in the interests of public health and safety".

At the moment the European Medicines Agency, currently based in London, is in charge of regulating pharmaceuticals across the 28-member bloc. 

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However, with the EMA due to relocate its headquarters after Brexit, there are questions over whether the UK will need to develop its own distinct regulatory system. 

That has led to concerns that patients could face delays accessing drugs due to new bureaucratic hurdles.

The letter from Mr Hunt and Mr Clark calls for "certainty and long-term stability", with the aim for a "deep and special relationship with the EU". 

"Drug development is a global business — and we will look to continue to work closely with the European Medicines Agency, and our international partners," they write.

However they also broach the possibility of a 'no deal' situation on pharmaceuticals, saying: 

"Whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations, we are clear that should we not achieve our desired relationship with the EU, we will set up a regulatory system that protects the best interests of patients and supports the UK life science industry to go from strength to strength."