As many of you across the world recently watched, the United Kingdom has elected to withdraw from the European Union following a public referendum on Thursday the 23rd of June.

It is too soon to have clear perspective on all the implications for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences sectors, but there are several things that are already known:

  • The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be required to relocate from London, as EU agencies must be located in a Member State
  • The chemistry and pharmaceutical sectors of the EU Unified Patent Court (UPC) will no longer be located in London, as previously planned

Additionally, the existing UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) is likely to assume all responsibility for medicines regulation in the UK.

There are, of course, other important factors that will impact all industries, including potential trade barriers and the freedom of movement of the workforce, but it is too early to speculate on how these will play out. This is because leaving the EU will take some time.  To start the process, the UK must trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which sets out the procedure to be followed if a Member State decides to leave.  In his resignation speech, Prime Minister David Cameron said this is a job for his successor, who he expects to be in place before the Conservative party conference in October. Once Article 50 has been triggered, negotiations to leave the EU will take place over a two-year period, during which time the implications will become clearer.

One thing that we know for certain is that the UK decision to leave the EU does not impact our GLOBALHealthPR partnership.  It is, and will continue to be, business as usual for our integrated teams across the world.