UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt and business secretary Greg Clark are urging for continued cooperation with the EU over drug regulation after Brexit, the Financial Times reported Monday. While Brexit negotiations are not yet fully underway, the lawmakers said the UK's "desired outcome is to find a way to continue to collaborate with the European regulatory framework, in the interests of public health and safety."
Philip Thomson, GlaxoSmithKline's president of global affairs, said the "clear intention to prioritise patient safety and provide stability for the life science industry through the Brexit process is very welcome." Meanwhile, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot indicated that securing an agreement with the EU "that enables innovative companies like ours to access scientific talent and rely on efficient supply chains, as well as integrated medicines regulation, will be critical to our sustainable success."
Several EU countries are vying to host the European Medicines Agency once it leaves its current London headquarters as a result of Brexit. Drugmakers including AstraZeneca, Novartis, Sanofi and Roche, along with the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), had hoped a decision about the EMA relocation would be made at the June meeting of EU heads of state, but lawmakers have postponed a resolution on the matter until November.
Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, praised the government for "making the first move," but he urged that an agreement be reached quickly given the lengthy timeframe for drug development. Thompson said "while I understand that the current plan is not to agree anything until everything is agreed, that just won't work for us and therefore we would very much hope that…we will get an early signal in terms of the arrangements we put in place to ensure the supply of medicines."
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