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Politics and European pharmaceuticals – the impacts of 2016

The effects of Brexit have been discussed widely, and continue to unfold.  The latest big news to hit the headlines in the pharmaceutical industry is of the potential threat to the supply of UK pharmaceuticals, if the UK leaves the EU Single Market and Customs Union.  This could result in a broken chain between UK distributors and the EEA, leading to problems in timely drug supply for the NHS.  The EMA is currently used to get drugs licensed across Europe, and a ‘hard Brexit’ would sever the UK’s ties to the Agency.

Representatives from GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, in a life sciences steering group, are due to meet with UK ministers later in the month to discuss the priorities of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and put forward their arguments regarding Brexit policies.

The American elections had a fairly negative effect generally on the world’s markets, but have had an early positive effect on the European pharmaceutical markets, with shares in major European drug companies rising between 2 and 6%.  The effect is due mainly to investors concluding that the threat of tough action on drug pricing has abated, and that the long term criticisms over the pricing by the Clinton team is no longer a danger.  A raft of the larger European pharmaceutical companies, who all have a significant foot in the American market, have been initially buoyed by the election result.

Both votes have the potential to cause major changes in the European pharmaceutical industry, and it is sure that 2017 is set to be a very interesting year.