While post-Brexit regulatory changes continue to cause significant uncertainty for the UK’s healthcare sector, the UK Government’s initiatives, such as the Medicines and Medical Devices Act, provide much-needed opportunities to shape the environment for innovative healthcare following Brexit, says GlobalData a leading data and analytics company.
GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Brexit and the Healthcare Industry – 2021’, reveals that a total of 64% of US and 56% of UK healthcare industry professionals were positive towards the UK remaining an attractive destination for healthcare research and manufacturing post-Brexit. In contrast, the respondents from Europe (excluding the UK) were more negative, with only 24% of the respondents believing that the UK could be an attractive market.
Urte Jakimaviciute, Senior Director of Market Research at GlobalData, comments: “Compared to 2018 and 2019 survey results, the percentage of the US and UK respondents who believed that the UK would continue to be an attractive destination for healthcare research and manufacturing post-Brexit, increased by more than 10% in 2021. This shift may have been influenced by the finalization of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), the UK Government’s attempts to create legislative framework to promote the pharmaceutical sector and the MHRA’s intentions to join the US FDA’s coordinated Project Orbis, which is a global program to speed up patient access to innovative cancer treatments. Even though the vast majority of the respondents from Europe remained negative, their positivity also increased by 10% since 2019. This suggests that the UK-EU TCA provided some confidence in the UK healthcare sector post-Brexit.”
In the same survey, the majority of respondents across all regions highlighted that reducing barriers to UK-EU collaboration on clinical research, followed by close alignment to the EU’s drug approval system, would be the top two initiatives that could help the UK’s pharmaceutical industry to succeed post-Brexit.
Jakimaviciute continues: “The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of clinical research and its vital role in improving healthcare. It also showed that scientific innovation requires cross-nation collaboration, unrestricted access to information, and human resources. Any prospects of the UK-EU divergence on clinical trials regulation may compromise UK inclusions in multinational clinical trials. It is particularly important for research related to rare diseases and pediatric clinical trials, where patient populations are limited or strictly defined.”
The Medicines and Medical Devices Act 2021 is aimed at boosting the UK’s healthcare industry by supporting the availability and facilitating the access to medicines. The Act also supports new regulation for novel therapies, clinical trials, and makes provisions for the use of innovations in healthcare, such as artificial intelligence.
Jakimaviciute adds: “Even though separation from the EU may allow the UK to create a more efficient regulatory strategy, the UK will need to find a sustainable balance if the country wants to keep close alignment with the EU, while moving toward its own independent, commercially viable, and competitive regulatory regime. The Medicines and Medical Devices Act presents both challenges and opportunities for the UK healthcare sector. The UK’s ability to capitalize on opportunities and minimize risks will be crucial to determine the future of the country’s life sciences industry.”