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HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 31 August 2017

Hard Brexit could deprive Ireland of key medicines

The Times, Ellen Coyne, 31 August 2017

 

Pharmaceutical body, Medicines for Ireland, which represents the country’s largest drug suppliers, warned that Irish patients could face drug shortages after Brexit and costs could rise while drugs with a short shelf life could be at risk of expiring if they were delayed by border checks. Stakeholders have been invited to examine the impact on the sector of Britain’s decision to leave the EU at a Health Products Regulatory Authority event today. Ireland has been able to share batches of medicines with Britain but could in the future face problems accessing drugs because the country’s population is too small to buy in bulk.

 

The warning was also covered by The Irish Times.

 

Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Report

UK Government, 30 August 2017

 

The strategy report set outs a plan for the British medical industry to become a global powerhouse after Brexit. A pre-announcement released overnight heralds £160 million of funding across basic science, clinical and technology research and collaboration with the NHS. Only £14 million of this appears to be new funding, with the remaining £146 million coming from an industrial challenges fund announced at the start of the year.

 

There are five priorities: science, infrastructure, the NHS, data and skills, according to the independent panel headed by Professor Sir John Bell that put together the strategy. It confirms the Accelerated Access Review proposal, to fast-track treatments from the lab to patients, will be adopted. A handful of hubs will be set up to share medical data, and tax rules altered to aid private investment. The strategy will also set out plans to ensure “the U.K. has the talent and skills to underpin future life sciences success,” the government said. The first UK Life Sciences Strategy since 2011, the report signals a continued favourable focus of the UK Government on the sector.

 

The ABPI welcomed the publication of the Strategy commenting: “Today’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy is an impressive document which captures the importance of our sector to a successful post-Brexit Britain.”  ABPI CEO Mike Thompson stated: “The NHS is rightly at the heart of the strategy: If it can build on its unique capability to use health data in research and development and address the UK’s long-standing challenge of adopting new treatments, it will create a virtuous circle for all and deliver massive health and economic benefits to the UK.”. The full statement is available here.

 

The strategy was largely covered in national and specialist media outlets including BBC NewsThe GuardianThe Daily TelegraphReutersCity AMPharma Times and pharmaphorum. Media coverage picked up on the NHS being a central theme of the report with references to the role that technology should play in transforming healthcare for patients and shaping a completely new industry. While The Guardian focused on the potential privacy issues that surround the extensive use of data, Reuters emphasised the pharmaceutical sector’s focus on ensuring that the UK remains “open for innovation as it prepares to exit the EU”.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

 

There is no Parliamentary coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

Hard Brexit could deprive Ireland of key medicines

The Times, Ellen Coyne, 31 August 2017

 

Irish patients could face drug shortages after a hard Brexit, a pharmaceutical body has warned.

 

Medicines for Ireland, which represents the country’s largest drug suppliers, said that costs could rise while drugs with a short shelf life could be at risk of expiring if they were delayed by border checks.

The group will set out a series of negative consequences that Irish patients could face at a Health Products Regulatory Authority event today. Stakeholders have been invited to examine the impact on the sector of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

 

Sandra Gannon, general manager of Teva Pharmaceuticals Ireland and chairwoman of the group, said that Britain leaving the customs union and single market would be the “worst case scenario” for patients and manufacturers because there was no reason to think that the present regulatory structures would remain in place.

 

“In fact, it would signal strongly an intention for the UK to apply its own standards and regulatory requirements,” she said.

 

Ireland has been able to share batches of medicines with Britain but could in the future face problems accessing drugs because the country’s population is too small to buy in bulk.

 

“The issue of medicine shortages is another concern. Already, 140 medicines are out of stock and we are at risk of further shortages due to Ireland’s dependence on the much larger British market,” Ms Gannon said.

 

“Without the ability to batch-share, the small size of the Irish market may make it commercially unsustainable for manufacturers to supply to Ireland. That would seriously damage Ireland’s interests both in terms of patient access to medicines and the inevitable rise in cost which would occur.”

 

The British government said that it wanted a hard Brexit but has not set out in detail what kind of customs and border arrangements it was considering.

 

Medicines for Ireland said that every hour of a customs delay in the event of a hard border would increase the cost of drugs, which would have an impact on the health service and patients.

HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 31 August 2017

From Factory to Pharmacy

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