LONDON — The EU will be “putting patients at risk” unless it authorizes the U.K. to participate fully in drug safety and infectious disease databases after Brexit, and stockpiles medicines in readiness for a no-deal scenario, the head of the U.K. pharmaceutical industry association said.
With the U.K. and the EU two months away from Michel Barnier’s October deadline for an overall Brexit deal, Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, told POLITICO that with fears of a no-deal scenario rising, it is time “to look at this in terms of a health security issue.”
Thompson said that the U.K. government’s approach to coordinate with drug firms to stockpile medicines is “well thought-through” but said he is “concerned about patients across the continent of Europe” and urged EU27 governments to step up their own stockpiling efforts. While the government in London has moved on preparations for a no-deal Brexit, there’s been little sign of EU27 countries doing so.
He also called on the U.K. and the EU to agree to mutually recognize one another’s drug quality control testing procedures, to spare U.K. firms multimillion-pound costs in setting up duplicate testing operations in the EU, and vice versa.
“At the moment, we are clearly caught in a legalistic negotiation,” he said. “I understand that. We all understand negotiations. We [the ABPI] have kept quiet for a long period of time, [but] we are now only a number of months before potentially these things becoming reality, and there comes a time where you have to put the negotiation to one side and think about what is the impact on patients here,