Daniel Zeichner MP warned that the NHS risks being starved of cash if the Government fails to co-ordinate medicines regulation with the EU after Brexit as he led a debate in Parliament on the future of the European Medicines Agency.
The UK based European Medicines Agency simplifies and streamlines the regulation of medicines across Europe and allows companies to get the use of a medicine authorised across all EU countries in one go.
This means patients in the UK get faster access to new treatments. Currently new medicines in Australia and Canada come to market between six months and 12 months later than they do in the EU.
If Britain leaves the single market, British companies will have to apply to both the European and British regulator – leading to fears of added bureaucracy and delays in patients getting access to life saving medicines.
There is also concern pharmaceutical companies will just focus on the larger EU market and ignore getting British approval. Industry experts also fear that the European Medicines Agency may be relocated to another EU country.
Daniel Zeichner MP said: “Few people were thinking about the price of medicines when they voted in the referendum. But as the chief executive of AstraZeneca warned at the weekend, if the Government gets this wrong, the drugs bill will rise, so less money for the NHS – exactly the opposite of what people thought they were voting for.
We urgently need the Government to stop Brexit grandstanding and instead prioritise regulatory co-operation in order to ensure Cambridge’s excellent pharmaceutical and life sciences industries remain open for business and patients get access to medicines they need.”