Deal or No Deal? Tackling the Implications of Brexit on Pharma

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As the world awaits the outcome of Brexit, a presentation taking place at CPhI Worldwide in Frankfurt, Germany will delve deeper into the implications of each potential scenario on the pharma industry.

As the world awaits the outcome of Brexit-deal, no-deal, or even no Brexit at all-a presentation taking place at CPhI Worldwide in Frankfurt, Germany will delve deeper into the implications of each potential scenario on the pharma industry.

On Tuesday Nov. 5, 2019, Bonnie Bain, global head and executive vice-president of Healthcare Operations & Strategy at GlobalData, will be taking to the World of Pharma Podium at CPhI to discuss the implications of Brexit on the pharmaceutical industry. During the presentation, Bain will be drawing on the quarterly surveys, conducted by GlobalData, which assessed how various global industry representatives expect Brexit to affect the healthcare sector both for the United Kingdom and the European Union, to examine potential scenarios. Specifically, the presentation will look at the various outcomes of Brexit, the impact of Brexit on research and manufacturing, potential changes in corporate strategy, possibility of staff or headquarter relocations, and how sentiments towards Brexit have evolved during the past 12–18 months.

In an interminably odd situation, both much and little have changed over the past 12–18 months in terms of Brexit. Much has changed from the perspective of preparations being made by pharmaceutical companies, industry, and governments. Yet, little has changed in the sense that the UK still remains a part of the EU, albeit in a strange state of limbo.

News reports have highlighted how the pharma industry is responding to various predictions by governmental bodies on the impact Brexit may have on the UK and EU. For example, a recent press release iterated the response of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry on the National Audit Office report concerning the continuity of medicines supply post-Brexit. And, the UK BioIndustry Association has ramped up efforts to help prepare small-and-medium sized enterprises for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit with a series of events and webinars.

For some pharmaceutical companies, preparations have come in the form of investment in facilities that can ensure uninterrupted supplies post-Brexit. PCI Pharma recently announced its investment in a site in Dublin, Ireland, and the Wasdell Group announced its receipt of a Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) license for its new Irish headquarters, for example.


A huge change for pharma came in the form of the relocation of the European Medicines Agency, which had a significant impact on regulatory activities and resulted in a significant amount of staff leaving their positions with the agency. As noted by Sean Milmo, Pharmaceutical Technology Europe columnist, in his January 2019 European Regulatory Watch column: “the relocation of the EMA has forced the agency to reorganize its activities so that it can focus on the core areas of authorization of new and existing medicines and their variations and safety monitoring during their lifecycles.”

However, the overriding sentiment from the pharmaceutical industry has remained that of leaving without a deal is the worst possible scenario and everything that can be done, must be done to ensure ‘no-deal’ Brexit does not happen. As specified by Mike Thompson, chief executive of ABPI in June 2019, “Leaving the EU with a deal in place remains the best way to minimize any potential disruption to medicines supplies.”

If you are interested in the podium presentation ‘Brexit and the Implications for Pharma-Is it a Deal or No Deal?’ it will be held on the World of Pharma Podium, hall 8.0 stand 80B10, from 11:45 am until 12:30 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.