Roche boss: Brexit will make the UK less competitive

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Last week, Roche Boss Severin Schwan expressed concern that Brexit could further slow the UK drug approval process.

After the UK’s recent divorce from the EMA, officials are in unknown territory. With only six months until the UK leaves the EU, the UK government has advised drug makers to stockpile crucial medicines. There is also a concern that the UK’s credibility as a centre for healthcare and life-sciences will be damaged.

“The UK would get markedly less competitive and less interesting for the industry as a life science hub,” Schwan told Reuters.

He continued “For us, this is a very relevant question and if the regulatory system should not keep up with Europe, then this would be a big issue for us.”

According to Reuters, Schwan mused on the idea of the UK using Brexit to create an independent drugs regulator that was faster than the European Medicines Agency. However he also noted this would require large government planning and investment.

Mike Thompson of the ABPI recently explained that big companies have been unsure of how much stock will need to be saved in the event of delays at the UK border which are being estimated at around 6 weeks.

“What the government has done is provide guidance on how much additional stock companies should carry to cover that eventuality,” he told the pharmaceutical journal.

“We’ve clarified with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that this is not a blanket six weeks’ extra stock for everybody. Companies need to look at their own buffer stocks and assess whether they have enough stocks to cover a six week delay at the border, and adjust their buffer stocks accordingly.”

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