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Brexit fears are manifesting everywhere in business. Today we take a look at UK pharmaceutical industry and what they are doing to prepare. 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.theguardian.com

We ask what the Pharmaceutical Industry is doing to mitigate risks to manufacturing and investment post Brexit.



It is no secret that Brexit is a genuine threat to pharmaceutical research and manufacturing in the United Kingdom. 


The fear is that Britain post brexit will not be an attractive market for direct investment. Manufacturing costs will also rise. 


AstraZeneca and other large companies have placed a hold on all manufacturing investments. This goes back to 2017 when the drug maker decided not to go ahead with a planned refresh at its Macclesfield plant. 


It is not just AstraZeneca other companies like Novartis and Pfizer the makers of Viagra have both introduced plans to shut UK production and pharmaceutical packaging sites before 2020.  


These decisions have not been directly attributed to Brexit but the timing is very suspicious.  


The main concern is that post Brexit Britain will have trouble attracting the highly skilled workers needed for this heavily regulated industry. 


It is also likely that Britain’s role in EU funded research collaborations will be greatly reduced. Even excluded completely.


Take the EU’s Horizon Programme due in 2020 for example. In the event of a no deal Brexit Britain’s funding would effectively be halved from the £70 bn fund aimed at cutting edge science and research within the EU. 


Brexit has already prompted the move of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to Amsterdam from London. This move alone lost 900 jobs in the capital. 


Britain has a thriving life sciences sector as a whole. This includes pharmaceuticals but also biotech, clinical research, medical equipment packaging and medical trials.


*This sector employs over 140,000 directly but indirectly supports over half a million jobs through intermediaries and the larger supply chain. Not to mention life sciences generates over £30 for the UK economy.


*Quoted from the Price Water House Coopers economic review,2017.


The UK pharmaceutical industry is vast, however we still rely on our European Neighbors for two thirds of the medicines consumed in the UK. Of which 90% come through Dover & Folkestone ports. 


With this in mind the government has encouraged pharmaceutical manufactures & distributors to stock pile for six weeks. This is a big ask for perishable goods which have a short shelf life. Pharmaceuticals are often extremely moisture sensitive and will require additional packaging for preservation. 


Despite this companies has taken the advice on board and have begun to stockpile medicines. There are also contingency plans in place to transport drugs to and from the European Union on ferries essentially rented by the government. They will be opening 6 new port routes to accommodate this. 


Matt Hancock, the health secretary even has a plane on stand by to fly in medical isotopes, an essential component of many cancer treatments. 


It is no surprise that the chair of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has labelled Brexit the largest logistical challenge to ever face the industry