The UK leaving the European Union today will be a strongly negative development for the medtech industry, according to a poll of GlobalData’s Verdict Medical Devices readers.
GlobalData medical journalist Chloe Kent said:
In a survey of almost 200 visitors to the site, nearly 37% of respondents said that Brexit would be strongly negative for the industry, while 19% said it would be slightly negative.
Conversely, 18% of respondents said the move would be strongly positive for the industry, while 6% described it as slightly positive. A further 19% of people thought it would have a neutral impact on the industry.
As the UK ends 47 years of EU membership at 11pm GMT on 31 January, negotiations between the UK and EU on a free trade agreement will now determine whether or not pharmaceutical and medical device regulations will remain aligned at the end of the transition period in December 2020. Commentators remain deeply sceptical that a good trade deal can be established in this time, and no-deal Brexit still remains a serious possibility if the two parties cannot come to an agreement by the end of the year.
UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock has said that the intention is to maintain mutual recognition of products produced in the UK and EU. The European Parliament has also acknowledged how much the EU has to lose if the sector is disrupted and has called for targeted actions to ensure a continuing supply of drugs and medical devices. In other words, it’s mutually beneficial for both parties to keep everything running smoothly.
However, the sector’s future prospects rely on positive negotiations between with UK and EU. It’s clear that this is something that can be derailed across all sectors by issues which don’t seem to directly impact them on the surface – just look at the debacle around the Irish border. If negotiations don’t run smoothly this year, the health and wellbeing of patients across Britain and Europe could be put at risk.”
A survey of Verdict Medical Devices readers conducted in the run-up to the December 2019 general election indicated that a slim majority of our readers felt a win for the Conservatives, the most explicitly pro-Brexit leading party, would be best for the industry.