UK Votes to Remain Part of EMA

23.07.2018 -

The UK Parliament has voted 305 to 301 to take all necessary steps to continue the country’s involvement with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) after it leaves the EU.  

In a joint statement on behalf of the UK’s pharmaceutical industry, Mike Thompson, CEO of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), and Steve Bates, CEO of the BioIndustry Association (BIA) underscored the organizations’ commitment: “Parliament has sent a clear message that patients and public health should be a top priority for the Government in these negotiations. Every month, 37 million packs of medicine arrive in the UK from the EU and 45 million move the other way.”

The Drug Safety Research Unit (DSRU) also welcomed the MPs’ decision, saying it believes  the overall aim should be to ensure that citizens of the UK and the EU continue to gain access to the best and most innovative medicines. “The DSRU will continue to support the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and the EMA in their efforts to achieve this aim,” it stressed.

The EMA, which evaluates and monitors medicines as well as assists national authorities in authorizing drugs for sale in the EU, is currently based in London but will move to Amsterdam after Brexit. The UK government said it will make an “appropriate financial contribution” in return for participating in the agency.

Earlier this month, the EMA said a recent survey had shown there were serious concerns that the necessary marketing authorizations for 108 medicines (88 human products and 20 veterinary products) would not be in place by the time the UK leaves the EU.  

Meanwhile, UK-headquartered drugmaker AstraZeneca has told the BBC’s Newsnight program that it will increase its drugs stockpiles in Europe by about 20% in preparation for a possible hard Brexit on Mar. 29, 2019. The company said it has already spent £40 million preparing for a no-deal with the EU.