The UK is falling behind the European Union (EU) in approving new medicines, which could be the first step in life science firms picking up and moving over to the mainland.
The UK’s medicines regulator typically approves novel medicines around a month slower than its EU counterpart, research by Imperial College London has found.
Lead author on the research, Professor James Barlow, told City A.M. yesterday that, if this continues, “the UK will be seen as less attractive market for global pharma companies, both because it’s much smaller than the EU or US and because of the extra regulatory costs for getting their drugs adopted in the UK.
“Even before Brexit there was worry about life science R&D moving from the UK, so post-Brexit regulatory hurdles and costs may just compound this.”
It risks squashing the UK’s post-Brexit ambition of becoming a global science superpower by 2030 and wasting the massive uptick in life science investment which the UK has reaped during the pandemic.
“Undeniably, there’s been lots of support for life sciences because of Covid and the UK still has a very dynamic life sciences sector… But this picture can change.
“It’s all very well talking about ‘global Britain’, but whoever is next prime minister needs to really get behind the UK’s science base with a genuine long term strategy, not just short term opportunistic reaction to events.”