The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has taken the decision to express its support for the UK to remain in Europe and to highlight the benefits that EU membership brings to UK patients and the pharmaceutical industry.

Mike Thompson, Chief Executive Officer at the ABPI, said: 

“Our members are overwhelmingly supportive of remaining in the EU.

We believe that staying in the EU will mean that patients in the UK will be more likely to get faster access to new medicines than if we left.    With the European Medicines Agency, pharmaceutical companies have a one stop shop for centralised licencing of new medicines and treatments across Europe.   If we left the EU this would mean that the licensing of new medicines would have to be handled by a UK agency as well as a European agency.  Our members have confirmed that the applications for UK license would come after the European license due to the smaller patient population in the UK.

The UK also currently holds an enviable position as one of the premier European destinations for ground breaking research and clinical trials.  An EU exit risks the breakdown of international collaboration between scientists, doctors and industry which could slow down access to new drugs for patients in the UK.

As a nation we benefit hugely from EU funding for research and development – more than any other EU country – and this has helped drive medicines research across a whole range of diseases, including cancer, dementia and diabetes.   An EU exit would create a funding gap which would need to be filled if the UK is to continue punching above its weight globally in research and development of new treatments.

We believe that staying in the EU will also encourage global pharmaceutical companies to continue to invest, employ, research, manufacture and export in the UK, rather than elsewhere.”