Pharma drama: Health secretary Jeremy Hunt and business secretary Greg Clark issue veiled threat over post-Brexit drugs deal

Catherine Neilan
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"Our door will always be open... but" (Source: Getty)

Two senior ministers have said the UK could create its own system for regulating the drugs industry following Brexit rather than accept a deal that would affect domestic competitiveness.

In an open letter published in the FT this morning, health secretary Jeremy Hunt and business secretary Greg Clark said the current relationship with the EU "remains the best way to promote improved patient outcomes both in Europe and globally."

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They sought to reassure those working in the £30.4bn life science industry that it will continue to have a "close working relationship" with those in the EU after Brexit, saying "our door will always be open".

"We will seek to process licences as quickly as possible, certainly no more slowly than at present," the letter continued. "Our fee pricing will be competitive with current levels."

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But the pair also stressed that they would not accept a deal that would put the UK at a disadvantage.

"Whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations, we are clear that should we not achieve our desired relationship with the EU, we will set up a regulatory system that protects the best interests of patients and supports the UK life science industry to go from strength to strength," they said.

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