​Get Your Prescriptions at the Port

By Josh Jezard

​Get Your Prescriptions at the Port

• Drug firms in the UK may have to go through two sets of regulators

• As well as slowing down new drugs, costs could spiral as well

• British drugs firms may move to Europe as the domestic market is so small

BREXIT is still presenting challenges, with UK patients facing delays in getting new drugs if they withdraw from the EU’s medicine regulator.

Sir Alasdair Breckenridge has warned that new cancer drugs could be affected by BREXIT.

However, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that he had made contingent plans since he did not expect the UK to remain within the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Reportedly there are new opportunities to access new drugs on a more consistent basis on the back of BREXIT, says the Department of Health.

“The UK market compared to the European market of course is small and they may decide not to come to the United Kingdom…So therefore there will be delay in getting new drugs - important new drugs, anti-cancer drugs, anti-infective drugs - for patients in the UK” says Sir Alasdair.

His concerned are echoed by those expressed by the current MHRA chairman Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, “who said the UK could be at the back of the queue behind Japan, the US and the EU when drugs are introduced.”

David Jeffreys, the vice-president of Eisai - a Japanese drugs firm that employs 450 people in the UK - said “British patients could face delays of up to two years… the UK will be in the second or indeed the third wave so UK patients may be getting medicines, 12, 18, 24 months later than they would if we remained in the European system."

Despite this the Department of Health have said they are acting against this “[they hope to] ensure the UK continues to be a world leader and our cross-agency Brexit taskforce is considering the future regulatory roles the MHRA could adopt."

If we are unable to sustain UK patients drug demand, it may be possible for the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) to make a deal with the EMA even if they do not remain in the EU system.

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