Pharmaceutical bosses warn of potential drug supply delays post-Brexit

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Leaders of the UK and EU pharmaceutical industry have issued a warning that a disorderly Brexit could disrupt the supply of life-saving medicines.

In a joint letter to Brexit Secretary David Davis and the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier, the pharma bosses called for ongoing co-operation between the EU and Britain on medicines following Brexit.

They said continued co-operation is the best way of ensuring patients are able to access "safe and effective medicines" and avoid an "adverse impact on public health".

And they called for a transition period to Brexit long enough to allow for changes to supply procedures to avoid disruption to the availability of drugs.

The letter stated: "In the case of an unorderly withdrawal, there is a risk that all goods due to be moved between the UK and EU could be held either at border checks, in warehouses or manufacturing, and/or subject to extensive retesting requirements.

"In fact, this would lead to a severe disruption of most companies' supply chains, which would lead to potential supply disruptions of life-saving medicines.

"An implementation period that adequately reflects the time needed by pharmaceutical and biotech companies to transition to a new framework should be agreed on by negotiators.

"This will allow companies time to make the necessary arrangements to avoid any unintended consequences on the availability of the medicines."

They said "securing agreement (on ongoing co-operation) is the best way of ensuring that patients across Europe and the UK are able to continue to access safe and effective medicines and to ensure that there is no adverse impact on public health".

Along with the chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry Mike Thompson, signatories include leaders of the European Self-Medication Industry,  the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, EuropaBio, Medicines for Europe, British Generic Manufacturers Association, BioIndustry Association and the Proprietary Industry of Great Britain.