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The potential implications of a Brexit customs union on pharma and biotech industries

Posted on 28 February 2018. Source: pharmaphorum

Ever since the referendum vote on 23 June 2016, Labour has maintained virtually the same policy on Brexit as Theresa May’s Conservative government – which meant no party representing the large proportion of the country who either oppose a ‘hard Brexit’ or still oppose leaving the EU entirely.

Yesterday saw Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn declare a new policy in favour of a customs union – a deal which would allow ‘frictionless trade’ and address the need for no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

This would represent a ‘soft Brexit’, and would also mean the UK would not be free to strike its own trade deals with non-EU countries.

Natasha Pearman, Managing Associate at law firm Mishcon de Reya, is a specialist in UK and EU law and advises industry sectors on Brexit.

She says Labour’s new policy will undoubtedly be welcomed by pharma, as it will ensure there are no trade barriers.

But she adds: “However, it is only a partial solution which will mainly affect the existing pharmaceutical supply chain: for example, the movement of APIs and drugs already approved at the time of Brexit. It will have no direct impact on achieving alignment with the EMA’s medicines regulatory network post-Brexit.”

She says this would still require a deal to ensure new drugs and medical devices are approved and regulated in the same way, or through a mutual recognition process aligning the UK with the EEA single market as it develops.

This alone would safeguard the development of medicines in post-Brexit Britain and patients’ ability to easily access new and innovative drugs in the future.”

Read the full article in pharmaphorum.