EU Pharma Industry Representatives Pen Letter on Brexit

May 11, 2016
Caroline Hroncich

Caroline Hroncich was associate editor for Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, and BioPharm International from 2015 to 2017.

Members of ABPI, GSK, AstraZeneca, and the BioIndustry Association composed a letter explaining why the UK remaining part of the EU benefits the life-sciences sector.

Members of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries (ABPI), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), AstraZeneca, and the BioIndustry Association expressed their opinion on the upcoming European Union (EU) referendum in a letter in the Observer. The letter, published on May 8, 2016, is signed from GSK CEO, Sir Andrew Witty “plus 92 other leading life-science figures,” and details why the signatories believe that the United Kingdom remaining part of the EU provides significant benefits for companies in the life-science sector.

The highly anticipated EU Referendum is set to take place on June 23, 2016. The referendum, also referred to as ‘Brexit,’ will determine whether or not the UK will remain a member of the EU. If the UK were to leave the EU, pharmaceutical companies may be forced to apply for separate market authorizations to sell drugs in the UK and Europe, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) noted in a press announcement.

“We see significant advantages for the life-sciences sector in the UK remaining part of the EU,” the industry representatives wrote in the Observer. “This would enable the sector to continue to operate within an established and harmonized regulatory approval system, ensuring that UK patients benefit from medicines more quickly, and that medicines researched and manufactured in the UK are available across the EU sooner.”

Remaining part of the EU might also benefit pharmaceutical companies when it comes to issues of international trade, the writers assert. Leaving the EU, they say, “would bring added complexity and uncertainty, which is bad for business and research.” The life-sciences industry in the UK has grown to £60.7 billion (approximately $87.76 billion), according to BIS.  The sector includes 222,000 employees across the UK, spending £4 billion (approximately $5.78 billion) on R&D, industry representatives noted in the Observer.

Source: BIS, The Observer