German pharmaceutical industry warns of the risks of no-deal brexit

“One of the risks, as highlighted by EU and UK based pharmaceutical companies alike, of a no-deal Brexit, is that the UK could struggle to access essential medicines. How severe could the problem be? According to some German pharmaceutical firms, it could be a catastrophe for the UK, particularly if it fails to safeguard its current supplies.

With this in mind, these companies have warned that a “hard-Brexit” should be avoided at all costs. The UK is currently one of Germany’s biggest buyers in terms of medicines; however, total trade between the two countries fell by 10% in 2017: a decline that’s been blamed on the uncertainty surround the Brexit referendum result. Total pharmaceutical trade between the UK and Germany was €16bn in 2017, which is €1.7 billion less than the previous year.

The German industry regulator for drug manufacturing, VCI, have warned that in order for a steady flow of medical supplies to continue into the UK, a transitional arrangement should be secured as soon as possible. The VCI also said that the drop in trade between the UK and Germany in terms of medicine and chemicals is due to Brexit.

This has been a two way drop in trade. Since the vote, Germany have signed contracts with other suppliers across Europe to replace products currently imported from the UK. In the event that no deal is met, the consequences could become more serious for the UK’s medical industry, the group claims.

In an interview, managing director of the VCI, Utz Tillmann, commented: “A disorderly Brexit would create such a complex situation that it is impossible for companies to prepare for all eventualities. A collapse of supply chains would cause damage far beyond our industry.”

He the added: “Therefore, specific transitional solutions are essential to at least somewhat ease the most detrimental impacts. In particular, this is about supplies of medicines in the UK. In the event of a disorderly Brexit, chemical substances that were registered in the UK for distribution in the EU could be no longer simply sold in the European Union – with significant consequences for the supply chains.”

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