SENIOR MPs: The UK needs a drug regulation deal with the EU after Brexit

Jeremy Hunt
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt. WPA Pool / Getty

LONDON — The UK will need to work with the European Union on medicine approvals after Brexit to make sure patients have continued access to treatment, two ministers said in a letter to the Financial Times.

“The UK would like to find a way to continue to collaborate with the EU, in the interests of public health and safety,” Jeremy Hunt, the health minister, and Greg Clark, the business secretary, said.

“Our aim is to ensure that patients in the UK and across the EU continue to be able to access the best and most innovative medicines and be assured that their safety is protected through the strongest regulatory framework and sharing of data,” they wrote.

Drugs in the UK are regulated for use by the European Medicines Agency, based in London. Leaving the EU has raised questions over whether Britain will need to set up its own agency and to what extent it would continue to adhere to EU standards.

The ministers also addressed concerns that uncertainty over drug regulation would dampen investment in the UK’s pharmaceutical industry.

“Our focus is on supporting initiatives across Europe that will be vital to developing the next generation of products — big data, genomics, and ever greater support for medical research and scientific collaborations,” they wrote.

“Drug development is a global business — and we will look to continue to work closely with the European Medicines Agency, and our international partners.”

The ministers’ letter, calling for a deal to keep close ties with Europe on medicines, was approved by the Prime Minister and the Department for Exiting the EU, the FT said.

“Our door will always be open to a deep and special relationship with the EU which remains the best way to promote improved patient outcomes both in Europe and globally,” Hunt and Clark wrote.

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