Science

Brexit May Delay Cancer Drugs For Two Years

By Donna Bellevue , Feb 11, 2017 01:02 AM EST
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Britain and EU announce key Brexit deal

Among a handful of problems caused as consequences of the recent separation of the UK from EU is the impending doom that Brexit may delay the availability of cancer drugs to patients who need it most. Patients could be forced to wait two years for new drugs due to the new political situation, experts warn. This is because the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which evaluates and approves new drug, will likely prioritize the much larger European market.

Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary says that he does not expect the UK to remain within the European Medicines Agency after the political separation. A former chairman of the UK’s medical regulator also says that pharmaceutical companies now have to obtain separate licenses from EMA to market their products in Britain and in other European countries. It's likely that they will prioritize other larger European regions, and in this point of view, Brexit may delay the coming of new drugs in the UK for two years, the Mirror Online reports.

Furthermore, a drug company executive have suggested that the UK would be receiving the “second or third wave” for new drugs after Europe, the USA and Japan. Analysts estimate that the delays would run as much as 24 months. This situation could worsen the quality of care given to NHS patients who are already grappling with several health service issues.

Sir Alasdair Breckenridge, a former chairman of the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency says that since the UK market is smaller compared to the European market, it is inevitable that there will be a delay in getting new drugs for patients in the United Kingdom. He adds that important drugs, including new cancer drugs could be among those affected. According to the BBC, aside from the fact that Brexit may delay the availability of drugs, medicine prices will also increase due to the second application costs, after the European application costs, that drug companies will have to pay.

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