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Will Brexit threaten clinical trials in the UK?

The recently-formed Brexit Health Alliance has warned that Brexit will put patients at a disadvantage if their participation in clinical trials across Europe to test new drugs is negated upon leaving the European Union.

The Alliance and its report

The Brexit Health Alliance was formulated in response to the UK’s decision to leave the EU. It works in conjunction with the Cavendish Coalition of social care and health organisations to protect and address the country’s health priorities and interests, such as access to medical treatment and research. The Alliance comprises various health bodies, including the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the NHS Confederation, NHS providers, and the BioIndustry Association.

A newly-published report from the Alliance states that a UK migration process needs to be in place for the future success of UK and European interests. It also requests and recommends coordination and cooperation with Europe when it comes to continued involvement in research; in the regulation of medical devices and medicines; and in the European Reference Network, which deals with complex and often rare diseases.

The risk to healthcare

If clinical trials in the UK were unable to recruit a varied pool of participants from Europe, the outcomes would be significantly limited for patients in both the UK and Europe. This would have a negative knock-on effect for research, medicines, medical and technological developments, and advancements overall.

Medical research is pivotal in contemporary healthcare. Companies such as http://www.richmondpharmacology.com/specialist-services/adaptive-phase-i-studies that provide adaptive phase 1 studies rely on the ability to garner appropriate participants from the population. In the case of rare, complex conditions, the number of potential participants will be low in any given country and thus can only be adequately researched when patients are joined across the boundaries of countries.

If a no-deal Brexit were to occur, it would also risk the ability for the UK to collaborate with regulatory bodies such as the European Medicines Agency or to access the necessary vital databases and portals for clinical trials.

There is the potential for further funding to be required to ensure continued collaboration occurs. The Wellcome Trust has recently proposed that the UK should join the Framework Programme 9, necessitating the need to pay increased amounts to European trials and research once it leaves the EU.

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