While much of the post-Brexit fears have spurred from the potential state of the UK after Brexit, new information has shown that there may be major problems within the EU if a Brexit deal cannot be reached. “Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has said patients in the European Union may not be able to receive vital medicines from the UK if the company does not successfully prepare for a no-deal Brexit,” the Guardian reports. “The manufacturer of cancer, heart and lung drugs told an official Dutch government website that it was going to have to test medicines in both the UK and the EU to ensure they could cross the border in all Brexit scenarios.” One of the main obstacles is that currently many pharmaceuticals are manufactured and also tested for quality within the UK — without free movement or a comprehensive deal it is unclear how these goods would reach the EU.
The company, which employees around 6,700 people in the UK, is a leader in the world of oncology drugs, though they also produce medicine for certain heart conditions and respiratorily deficiencies. Around 40 million pounds have been spent so far by the company as they try to prepare for the post-Brexit scenario, including setting up a parallel testing company in Sweden. The warehouses will aim to hold around four months of drugs in stockpile in case of a no deal Brexit. With the threat of a no deal Brexit looming larger day after day, many companies are starting to make moves to prepare. But when it comes to medicine, when it comes to health, the threat is put into sharper perspective. As March approaches, we are no longer dealing with hypotheticals and far-off futures — we’re talking about people’s lives and their health.
— Sarah Wollaston MP (@sarahwollaston) August 3, 2018
“Access to medicines and drugs is one of the most important healthcare issues that will have to be dealt with in a no deal Brexit scenario,” Professor Jean McHale, a health care law specialist at Birmingham University, has said. “The government has to ensure there will be some sort of reciprocal arrangement to ensure smooth movement of drugs across borders.” A deal must be made, because real lives could be at risk. Hopefully, the government will heed the deeds and warnings of AstraZeneca.