Thursday, September 1, 2016

British Life Science Trade Groups To Present Brexit "Request List" Tomorrow

Just as PhRMA and others represent, and lobby for, the life sciences here in the US, the BioIndustry Association (the "BIA") and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (the "ABPI") serve analogous roles, as trade groups in the UK. Tomorrow, those groups will present to their member companies the jointly-prepared list of "Brexit" related issue positions, strategies and desired outcomes the two groups then intend to take to various UK health ministers, and Parliament -- as it returns from summer hiatus.

Of course, the goal will be to minimize the disruption of what is now a tightly integrated pan-EU life sciences regulatory scheme, while still preserving tax and tariff advantaged access by UK based companies, to key EU markets. And frankly, vice-versa. Which animates my central point, immediately below.

I'd bet that when the dust settles, some 36 or 48 months from now, the post-exit relationships -- between the EU and the UK -- will not be terribly different (in practical effect) than the pre-exit ones. Britain will have a separate regulatory body, to be sure -- but it will likely work in close coordination with the EU commissioners -- as uniformity here is in all parties' interests, and leads to mutual advantages. So, as I said back in June, much of the old-line, establishment media ink spilled (and, candidly -- that of many of the global law- and consulting-firms', too!) was a lil' too overwrought. Here's a bit -- from a pretty solid overnight Science|Business story, out of the UK:

. . . .UK life sciences companies are already facing uncertainties thrown up by Brexit and it is essential the government is aware of these when it engages in exit negotiations.

But the sector should also look to the potential to reshape the environment. “We should look at opportunities that are in the future, rather than only mitigating risks,” Bates said.

The work to formulate the blueprint included representatives from companies including Astrazeneca plc, Glaxosmithkline plc, Janssen, Merck, Sharp & Dohme, Novartis, Pfizer and UCB Pharma.

The focus is on drug regulation, free movement of labour, manufacturing and supply, EU public funding of research and development, intellectual property, and fiscal and trade issues.

The high level of integration of Europe’s life science sector will make for complexity in disentangling the UK. For example, drugs have been regulated at a European level for 40 years. . . .

It is also smart that the trade groups are taking a "proactive" approach, and not just playing defense -- seeking new improvements, over existing EU based ones. I like that sort of thinking. Always making lemonade from the lemons -- as Beyoncé might (did) sing. . . smile. Yes, yes -- Queen Baé. . . ummm-hmmmm. . .


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