The UK’s leading life science companies on 8 May 2016 warned that leaving the EU could add risk to the wealth and health of the nation by bringing uncertainty to the industry, adding barriers to investment in the UK and threatening access to the latest medicines.
In a letter to The Observer, the chief executives of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries (ABPI), Glaxo SmithKline, AstraZeneca and the BioIndustry Association are amongst over 90 signatories who claim that the future success of the UK life sciences sector is underpinned by being part of the EU’s single market, and EU regulatory processes.
If the UK was to leave a reformed Europe, companies would have to apply for separate market authorisations to sell their products in both the UK and Europe – which could delay access for the millions of NHS patients to the latest drugs and treatments.
The industry warning comes on the same day government published new statistics revealing the life sciences sector in the UK has grown to £60.7bn, with the UK’s EU membership shown to be key to the sector’s expansion.
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Life Sciences Minister George Freeman MP said:
“This is a serious warning from the leaders of the UK’s £60bn life science sector, which highlights the choice in this referendum: our economic security and global influence as part of the EU, or a leap in the dark.
“Being out on our own would risk the employment of 220,000 people, billions of pounds of inward investment, and our life science exports to the EU – which last year were worth over £29m every day.”