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Brexit: Impact on life science could be serious

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Brexit is approaching in big steps and everything points to the fact that it will be a so-called ‘no-deal Brexit’, i.e. Britain’s exit from the European Union without an agreement. Once it has been implemented, we can expect difficulties in the movement of goods in the life sciences sector as well. This means problems not only for patients in the UK, but also for British companies that operate in EU countries. The import of pharmaceutical and medical products into the UK will also be difficult.

Brexit – a problem for Polish life science companies

The balance of foreign trade in the life science sector is definitely in favour of Great Britain, but Polish companies have also found niches on the British market, especially in the field of medical equipment. However, the popularity of Polish products on the British market after Brexit may decrease. As a result of increased costs related to VAT, duties and additional adjustment procedures, their prices will increase and may cease to be attractive. Some manufacturers may also resign from this market due to a reduction in margins.

British products withdrawn from the Polish market?

British life science products will not be subject to a simplified registration path in the EU countries, so far. In case of medicines, it is difficult to do so because registration may take quite a long time. This is due to the fact that these products are much more regulated than any other goods. It will also not be easy with regard to medical equipment.

It is still uncertain how the issue of reimbursement decisions will be resolved. It is possible that producers in the UK will have to apply for them again, as well as for the registration itself. This means costs, lost revenue when they are out of the market and problems for patients in Poland.

In the case of medical equipment, the loss of validity of the CE marking will be a problem. After 31 October 2019, the import of life science products, the manufacturer of which had not previously taken care to obtain a certificate in the EU-27, will be difficult.

British and Polish patients without medication?

British health care has been struggling with quite big problems for a western country. First of all, there is a deficit in services, caused, among other things, by maintaining prices at a fairly low level by the state. As a result, demand far exceeds supply. The problem materialises in a long period of waiting for services.

Interestingly, various studies show that the British still have a very positive perception of the system. Will they continue to do so in the event of further problems? We are talking about problems in the supply of basic medicines, medical equipment associated with their administration and other life science products. As a result of Brexit, there will also be shortages of medical staff – a large part of medical staff are emigrants.

It is worth noting that steps are being taken to prevent this situation. For example, the United Kingdom buys active substances. This, however, gives rise to fears that there will be a shortage of active substances on other markets, including Poland.

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