ABPI wants UK minority Government to put pharma at heart of Brexit talks

By Gareth Macdonald contact

- Last updated on GMT

iStock/cbies
iStock/cbies
Pharmaceuticals should be at the heart of Brexit talks says the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, which has pledged to work with the UK’s minority Government.

The industry group – which represents international and local drug manufacturers – set out its position in a response to the UK General Election last week.

The ABPI said: “We have a decisive decade ahead of us and it’s essential that a minority government does not lead to a prolonged period of uncertainty over the future direction of the country.

We will seek to work with the new Government and across Parliament to make sure that the pharmaceutical industry is at the heart of Brexit negotiations​” it added.

Drug manufacturing contributed £30.4bn to the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015 according to the ABPI, which also pointed out that the industry employs 140,000 people.

NHS

The ABPI also said a strong National Health Service (NHS) is important for the drug industry, explaining “The Government can create the best possible environment for the pharmaceutical industry by securing a NHS that embraces innovation as the route to greater productivity and sustainability.

By delivering a pro-business agenda to create real opportunities for growth in jobs and economic activity; and by negotiating a Brexit deal that prioritises patients and public health​."

Regulations 

The ABPI's position is in keeping with concerns it has already raised about Brexit. In May​ last year, the group warned members will prioritize the larger EU market, with the implication being that UK patients would access new medicines later than their European conterparts.

Since​ then the ABPI has joined other industry groups to urge the UK to keep drug approval laws consistent with those in the EU.

Which minority Government?

Prime Minister Theresa May – who chose to trigger​ ​Brexit negotiations in March citing the narrow 'leave' victory in the non-binding, advisory​ referendum last year – called the snap General election​ to strengthen her mandate for withdrawing from the EU.

The plan backfired.

While the Conservative party won more seats than its rivals, it did not secure the 326 needed for a parliamentary majority. May's party is now in the process of negotiating a deal with the pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party (DUP​) to try and form a minority Government.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn, whose Labour party did not oppose the Brexit bill put before parliament in March, has called on May to resign and said​ he is willing to form a minority Government.

The ABPI told us "we’d be seeking to work closely with any UK Government​."

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