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How Brexit could make Britain a more competitive global player in the pharmaceuticals sector

28th January 2020 | Jonathan Duffield

How Brexit could make Britain a more competitive global player in the pharmaceuticals sector

For many industries, the thought of a post-Brexit world can be a fearful one; the repercussions are mostly unknown and negative news stories, statistics and economic predictions all contribute towards a nail-biting outlook on a fast-approaching reality.

However, there is one sector that may actually benefit from Brexit: pharmaceuticals and life sciences.

A post-Brexit Britain could actually boost the competitiveness of pharmaceutical companies who test and release drugs in the UK due to relaxed rules around clinical trials and approval of new medicines.

Historically, Britain is a huge global player in the pharma market, and there are currently over 5.6k life science companies in Britain. Some of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies, such as GlaxoSmithKline, are based in the UK, and Britain has been at the head of some of the biggest pharma and biomedical discoveries of the modern-day world, such as a routine universal anticancer vaccine that was released in 2008.

What will the new laws mean for the future of drug production in the UK?

New laws will look to “streamline” the approval stage of drug research and development, with a focus on “removing unnecessary bureaucracy” when clinical trials are low-risk. This would speed up a normally cumbersome process, where the development and release of new drugs can be stalled for long periods of time at multiple stages due to a labyrinth of rules and regulations.  

This means that pharma companies in the UK would have far more freedom and power to rapidly develop new treatments and drugs that could help transform lives across the world. 

This will come as a huge relief to organisations such as The British Heart Foundation, who have previously suffered from the rigidity of current regulations, with policy and communications director, Betty McBride, commenting “Our researchers have told us that it’s becoming more and more difficult to carry out clinical research in the UK due to the over burdensome regulation…”

This, coupled with the fact that the government has committed to increasing investment in research and development to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, makes Britain a very attractive location for large multinationals to set up base. 

A post-Brexit UK will also be better placed to invest more focus in the world’s most lucrative markets for pharmaceutical products, such as the US, the Middle East and Asia. In the US, for example, where prescription drugs are among the most expensive of anywhere in the world, there could be a tantalising opportunity to undercut big US pharma companies and take a large chunk of the market. 

As a member of the EU, the UK has focussed predominantly on the EU regulatory authority. However, following Brexit, the UK would have more resources and time available to developing drugs for a much wider range of countries.  

In summary

By taking these measures and planning on ways to support the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry after Brexit, the government is not only protecting the thriving pharma industry that already has a foothold in the UK but also pushing Britain to be an even more competitive player on a global scale. 

As new laws begin to take effect following Brexit, it may be a good time for businesses to review their talent management strategy. As the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries look to be more forward-thinking and adaptive in an increasingly relaxed legislative environment, businesses should consider a more global approach to new hires.

This is where global executive search specialists such as Goodall Brazier could help your business. Here at Goodall Brazier we look beyond home turf and towards historically innovative countries in the sector, such as Switzerland, for talented leaders that will help your business to grow in a rapidly evolving UK market. 

To learn more about how Goodall Brazier can help your business flourish post-Brexit through talent management, email me today: