Pharma opposition to Brexit cites concern for UK patients, life sciences
- In a letter published in the Observer, 93 signatories, including the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), have come out against Brexit, citing the negative effect it will have on the life sciences industry and UK-based patients.
- The ABPI, as well as UK-based pharma companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, discussed the many negative downstream consequences of Brexit, including a more complex drug-approval process, less R&D funding, fewer biopharma jobs in the UK, and less innovation overall.
- One point that the letter made is that the life sciences sector is a major employer in the UK, where 222,000 people work in some type of life sciences-related field.
The ABPI is not the only industry group to come out against Brexit. The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has repeatedly expressed its concerns about such a move, and the BioIndustry Association is also a signatory of the letter.
One of the major advantages for life sciences companies in the E.U. is the ability to procure a single marketing authorization for the entire block of EU countries via European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval. Leaving would mean opting out of a harmonized regulatory system, and could force the EMA to move its headquarters from London.abp
Mike Thompson, CEO of ABPI, expressed his association's "overwhelming" support for remaining in the EU. In the letter, Thompson and his co-signatories, made the point clearly: "Leaving the EU would bring added complexity and uncertainty, which is bad for business and research. Remaining in a reformed and more competitive EU would offer stability and predictability as a platform for even greater success. Staying in would be better for the health and wealth of the UK."
An article published in The Week earlier this month laid out the "pros" of a U.K. exit from the E.U., citing not having to pay the £13bn EU membership fee, having more control over immigration from other EU countries, and the chance for the U.K. to regain full control of its policies.
The referendum vote will be held on June 23.