Britain’s pharmaceuticals trade body has come out firmly against the country leaving the European Union, warning on Monday that an exit could put British patients at the back of the line for new medicines.
Leaders of individual companies, including GlaxoSmithKline’s Andrew Witty and AstraZeneca’s Pascal Soriot, have already voiced opposition to a so-called Brexit, but the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) had not previously expressed a view.
ABPI Chief Executive Mike Thompson, however, said that his members were “overwhelmingly supportive of remaining in the EU”, especially given concerns over disruption to the pan-European drug approval system provided by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
“If we left the EU, this would mean that the licensing of new medicines would have to be handled by a UK agency as well as a European agency,” he said.
“Our members have confirmed that the applications for a UK license would come after the European license due to the smaller patient population in the UK.”
Lawyers have previously warned that a vote to leave the EU in Britain’s referendum next month would threaten some prescription medicines with regulatory limbo.
An exit could also force the London-based EMA and the life sciences division of Europe’s new Unified Patent Court to move from London.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by David Goodman)
Source: Reuters Health