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Leaving the EU: Access to Medicines

Volume 648: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2018

12. What assessment he has made of the potential effect on access to new medicines of the UK leaving the EU. (907220)

20. What assessment he has made of the potential effect on access to new medicines of the UK leaving the EU. (907228)

We will continue to have access to new medicines through the deal we expect to negotiate with the EU. In the unlikely event of no deal, we will directly recognise batch testing of medicines done in the EU. We are currently consulting on the approach to licensing medicines in a no-deal scenario, but I am clear that patients should not be disadvantaged and should continue to have timely access to new medicines.

The reality is that Brexit uncertainty about future medicine approvals and unresolved issues with the European Medicines Agency have caused research firm Recardio to suspend UK recruitment to a drug trial, posing a risk to its business and interrupting the research. As the EMA has no associate membership for third countries, how does the Secretary of State plan to avoid the UK being left out of future clinical trials despite his bluster?

Not only does the UK bring a huge amount to the table in terms of research, but we fully intend to make sure that we have a robust and seamless system in place. A consultation is out at the moment and we will respond to it very shortly.

The Government have stated that the new EU clinical trials regulations will not be in place before March, but have committed to aligning with it where possible. What progress has been made regarding data sharing to ensure that clinical trials continue and pharmaceutical and research firms do not leave the UK after Brexit?

As part of the EU deal we are negotiating, the relationship with the EMA will be extremely close, so I am sure that that will be a part of our agreement.

Will the Health Secretary confirm that since the referendum the number of EU nationals working in our NHS has actually risen by 4,000, and that regardless of the state of the negotiations their rights will be protected and they will continue to be able to work in the NHS after we leave?

Yes, my hon. Friend is absolutely right. In fact, the number of EU nationals working in the NHS has now risen by more than 4,000 since the referendum, and we welcome them all.