Survey Indicates Healthcare Professionals Have a Dim View of Post-Brexit Britain

Two chess pawns, one with UK flag logo and one with EU flag logo

As Britain continues to move forward with its plans to leave the European Union, a new report indicates that the so-called “Brexit” will have a negative impact on healthcare in the United Kingdom.

GlobalData, a data and analytics company, released a report that suggests Britain will not be as “attractive a destination for research and manufacturing” following Brexit. The report was based on a survey of healthcare professionals conducted by GlobalData. The report, called ”Brexit and the Healthcare Industry – Implications for Pharma, Q3 2018,” showed that less than one-fourth of surveyed healthcare professionals thought the U.K. would continue to remain a good place to conduct pharmaceutical research following the Brexit deal. The healthcare professionals surveyed were based in the United States, Europe and the U.K.

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The results are a sharp drop from a survey conducted by the data company earlier this year. In the first quarter, a similar survey showed that 48 percent of those surveyed believed that the U.K. would remain a top destination for research. The latest numbers show that only 17 percent of those surveyed maintain that belief. That means 83 percent of those surveyed have a dim view of the U.K. as an R&D destination in healthcare. The British government has told U.K.-based drug companies they should stockpile a six week supply of drugs. That recommendation came on top of a previous one made by the government. European-based companies are also stockpiling in preparation for a potential disruption.

Those surveyed were asked about the impact of Brexit on the healthcare sector as well as their evolving sentiment towards Brexit, GlobalData said.

GlobalData’s Alexandra Annis, managing healthcare analysis, provided her insight into the drastic shift in viewpoint.

“Sentiment on this question has potentially been affected by the considerable amount of negative press associated with Brexit’s likely impact on the healthcare sector over the past three months. Stories such as the NHS requiring drug makers to stockpile drugs in preparation for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit and pharma companies like Sanofi and Novartis increasing medicine stockpiles, and AstraZeneca halting UK investments over Brexit uncertainties likely played a part in negatively affecting industry professionals confidence in the UK,” Annis said in a statement.

When the results are broken down by country of origin for those surveyed, Annis said healthcare professionals in the United States have a slightly more optimistic viewpoint. According to the survey, 38 percent of U.S. healthcare professionals had an optimistic attitude that the U.K. will remain an attractive destination for the industry. In the U.K. and the European Union, only 20 percent of professionals shared that optimistic outlook, according to the report.

GlobalData noted that Britain’s pharmaceutical industry is a dynamic sector helmed by pharma giants such as GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca.

The U.K. is officially expected to leave the European Union next year following the March 2017 triggering of Article 50, the protocol required to leave. There have already been some significant changes. The European Medicines Agency will its long-time home in London for Amsterdam in The Netherlands. The EMA is expected to move on Jan. 1, 2019. Lawmakers in Britain have called for a deal that would allow the country to continue participating in the European medicines regulatory framework, but so far that hasn’t been firmed up. As a result, Britain will likely be forced to develop its own guidelines for regulatory approvals. There are also questions as to how much European investment money will continue to flow into Britain’s healthcare industry.  Britain has been a net receiver of science funding from the EU.

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