£70M Meant for Cancer Drug Development is Reassigned to Prepare for Brexit
News Jan 08, 2018 | by Laura Elizabeth Mason, Science Writer, Technology Networks
At the end of last year, the Health Committee held a meeting to discuss Brexit, more specifically the impact this will have on the discovery, development and regulation of medicines, medical devices and biopharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical, patient, and charity representatives were among the ‘witnesses’ that attended the meeting. The attendees provided written and verbal evidence to the Commons Health select committee based on their specific expertise, in relation to Brexit.
A recent article published by the Guardian, highlighted that vast amounts of money, originally intended to further cancer drug development may now be reassigned to help prepare for the impact Brexit will have on industry operations.
Phil Thomson, President of Global Affairs at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), responsible for Brexit, operations and contingency planning, explained during the meeting that approximately 1,700 of GSK’s products could be directly affected by Brexit. He also raised the issue of transferring marketing authorizations post Brexit: “Products that have been approved in the UK, now unregistered in the UK, [would] need to be re authorized for Europe. We think there are about 1,200 of those that we will need to do.”
“The reason why I am giving you these numbers is to give you a sense of the scale… I can tell you that our latest estimate is somewhere between £60 million and £70 million of cost for what we need to do.” Explained Thomson.
Thomson stressed that the industry needs time to make the necessary changes in the lead up to Brexit: “The earlier we can get clarity on a transition process, the better, and in the event of a hard Brexit scenario, we need to be putting in plans, whether it is emergency legislative plans or unilateral action that the Government have started to talk about, to make sure that in that worst‑case scenario we can manage supply and can make sure there is not disruption.”
“We are going to do everything we can to minimize disruption.” Stated Thomson.
Thomson also touched on the challenges associated with the reassignment of money, emphasizing the potential impact it could have on drug development: “…we have a cancer portfolio we are trying to invest in, into which that money should be going, to develop the next generation of cancer medicines. That is something—I will be honest with you—that we are wrestling with internally inside GSK.”
An extensive meeting overview is available here.