Latest views and statements

  • ​​ABPI and BioIndustry Association (BIA) issue joint response to Brexit position paper on the future of UK science and innovation (6 September 2017​)
  • ​ABPI and BioIndustry Association (BIA) welcome "goods on the market" Brexit position paper (21 August 2017)
  • European & UK pharmaceutical industry writes to Michel Barnier and David Davis​ (13 July 2017)​
  • Pharmaceutical industry respond to joint letter from Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clark in the Financial Times​​ (4 July 2017​)

Read our insights and analysis on Brexit.

​​​​​​​​​​​Key issues

With European Union (EU) membership providing much of the scientific, regulatory and trade infrastructure for the pharmaceutical industry, the sector has worked together since 24 June 2016 to establish consensus on the following issues

Medicines regulation

For the mutual benefit of patients and industry in the UK and the EU, the UK should seek to negotiate alignment and commonality with the EU for the regulation of medicines, through:

  • Seeking a regulatory cooperation agreement, or a mutual recognition agreement with the European Medicines Agency
  • Agreeing continued alignment of current and future regulations
  • Ensuring continued UK participation in EU regulatory and medicines safety processes


The UK should seek to negotiate continued access to long-term European funding and collaboration programmes for science, through:

  • Reaching an agreement to maintain access to Horizon 2020 and its successor
  • Seeking continued participation in the European Investment Bank and EIF, including shareholding, financial contributions and, as a result, a seat at the Board

Access to talent

The UK should seek to negotiate an agreement with the EU that facilitates the ease of movement for highly-skilled talent in Life Sciences, through:

  • Delivering a UK immigration system that is needs-based, straightforward and rapid
  • Agreeing a reciprocal arrangement with the EU that facilitates ease of movement forscientists, researchers and highly-skilled workers, maintaining current systems such as the Intra-company Transfer process
  • Guaranteeing the rights of scientists, researchers and highly-skilled​ workers EU citizens already in the UK, alongside securing the rights of UK citizens working and operating in the EU


Due to the complexity of import/export declarations and inspections, and the existing integrated nature of supply chains, the UK should seek to negotiate the ability to ​trade and move goods and capital across borders with the EU for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, through:

  • Maintaining trading terms for Life Sciences goods and services that are equivalent to those of a full member of the EU Customs Union and EC common system of VAT
  • Continued alignment of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Good Distribution Practice (GDP) standards with the EU, and reach an agreement that allows UK-based Qualified Persons (QP) decisions and inspections to be recognised between the EU and UK
  • Reaching an agreement with the EU to maintain the benefits of the Parent-Subsidiary and Interest & Royalties Directives

UK EU Life Sciences Steering Group

Set up by the Government in July 2016 and supported by the Office for Life Sciences, the UK EU Life Sciences Steering Group is a forum for industry, government​, civil servants and key stakeholders to discuss the impact of Brexit on UK Life Sciences.

The group is currently co-chaired by GSK and AstraZeneca. The Life Sciences industry is further represented by the ABPI, the BioIndustry Association​ (BIA), the Association of the British Healthcare Industry (ABHI) and the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA).

​Objectives of the UK EU Life Sciences Steering Group

The key objective of the programme is to determine how to create a world-leading Life Sciences environment in the UK outside of the EU. This includes:

  • Identifying optimal position for the life sciences sector against potential exit scenarios, and generating ideas for agile approaches to overcome barriers and mitigate risks
  • Identifying opportunities to make the UK domestic landscape as strong and attractive as possible for the life sciences industry
  • Providing options for how the UK can negotiate with the EU and relevant EU life sciences bodies to obtain the optimal outcome for UK and European industry, health systems and patients
  • Ensuring a framework for a continued dialogue between the life science industry and the government on these issues​

The Programme focuses on six work streams: fiscal and trade, intellectual property, manufacturing and supply, people, regulation, and research and development. 

The Steering Group first reported the work of the Programme to the Ministerial Industry Strategy Group (MISG) in September 2016. At this meeting, an initial report mapping out the issues influencing the sector was discussed, with further meetings building upon this work.

Further information

For further information, please contact ABPI's Head of External Affairs, Elliot Dunster.

For media requests, please contact ABPI's Media Relations Manager, Andrew Ross.