How Britain's exit from the EU will affect the drug market

Britain's decision to leave the European Union is causing regulatory uncertainty for drug companies as the London-based European Medicines Agency — equivalent to the U.S.' Food and Drug Administration — will have to relocate to a city in the EU, according to Reuters.

While most drug companies will not see an impact in their global profits thanks to strong markets for prescription medications in the U.S. and Asia, the EMA's upheaval does hold implications for the EU's drug industry. The move could pose challenges to future investment, research and jobs, according to the UK pharmaceutical trade association.

Industry executives worry the EMA's relocation will cause inefficiencies in the drug approval process, whiles scientists are concerned that funding for academic research and crucial UK-European research partnerships will be jeopardized.

While Britain could remain under the EMA's regulatory umbrella if it stays in the European Economic Area agreement, many of the individuals who supported leaving the EU oppose this option. If Britain forms its own regulatory entity, British patients could be placed on the backburner for access to new medicines as drug companies focus their efforts on the larger EU market. Some medicines could also be stalled in regulatory limbo.

Healthcare officials and drug company executives in Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Germany have expressed interest to be the new home of the EMA.

More than 70,000 people work in the UK's pharmaceutical industry, which accounts for 25 percent of all business research and development spending in the country.

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