23 March 2018

Quality health care in the UK depends on the “closest possible regulatory alignment” with the EU, a Parliamentary committee has said.

The report of the health committee adds to pressure on the government to agree to a “soft Brexit.”

Its chair Dr Sarah Wollaston said: “In order to minimise harm to their citizens, both the UK and the EU-27 should look to secure the closest possible regulatory alignment in the next round of the Brexit negotiations.

“Failure to do so would signal a triumph of ideology over the best interests of patients.”

The government has stated it wants to maintain regulatory alignment with the European Medicines Agency – but the MPs warn that the EU has already set its face against a sector by sector approach to alignment.

The MPs say it is “vital” that the UK can continue to participate in European clinical trials – especially for patients with rare diseases.

And they explicitly back “free and frictionless trade” with the EU.

They state: “If the UK does not adopt the new clinical trials regulations and is unable to access the EU infrastructure developed within the EU to underpin them, difficulties for patients and the life science industry could emerge.”

The report was welcomed by the British Medical Association.

BMA treasurer Dr Andrew Dearden said: “It is crucial that the UK continues to work collaboratively with the EU on research to develop new medicines and medical devices.

“Reduced collaboration risks not only having a significant adverse impact on the UK’s capacity to develop new products for the benefit of patients, but also limiting training and career opportunities for medical researchers and making the UK a less attractive destination for key talent and expertise.”

Source: House of Commons health committee


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