reportsResearchers at consultants GlobalData believe the UK’s decision to leave the EU could have “major consequences” for the country’s pharmaceutical and medical device sectors, it has announced.

The company’s latest whitepaper states that for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, leaving the EU would have significant consequences in five key areas: regulatory impacts, research and development, access to talent, intellectual property rights, and market access.

For manufacturers, the most immediate impact would be on the area of drug and device regulation, as a Brexit vote would be followed by a series of negotiations lasting two years.

“Given the timescales that life sciences operate, to suddenly enter a two-year negotiation process doesn’t sound like a long time, and that uncertainty makes the monetizing of investments appear more risky,” says David Shaw, GlobalData’s Chief Operating Officer.

Life science, including pharmaceuticals and medical devices, is a critical element of the UK economy, accounting for more than 180,000 jobs and revenue of some $80 billion, according to UK Trade and Investment.

There are numerous potential ramifications of the Brexit vote for the healthcare sector. For example, the European Medicines Agency, which is headquartered in the UK, is likely to be swiftly relocated to the EU. There also may be immediate disruption of the regulation of existing medicines, let alone drugs in development.

“If the UK exits the EU, pharma companies could even exclude the UK when assessing commercial potential of drugs due to the much higher access hurdle. Instead, they might choose to focus more on the remaining EU, and treat the UK as an isolated country,” says Sean Hu, Ph.D., MBA, GlobalData’s Senior Vice President and Head of Consulting.

Despite the possible drawbacks of a Brexit vote, GlobalData believes the pharmaceutical industry could still thrive. However, the UK would need to follow a different path from the likes of Switzerland, Canada and Israel, and establish a uniquely British solution.

For more information, or to request a copy of the whitepaper, visit: