GlaxoSmithKline, Britain’s biggest drugmaker, is moving ahead with Brexit contingency planning “right now”, including the preparation a system to examine drugs in the European Union if Britain exit the bloc without a trade deal.
Drugmakers are expressly affected by Brexit because of the highly monitored nature of their business.
Emma Walmsley, the Chief Executive, said that drug companies required clarity regarding future relations with the European Union as soon as possible in order to minimise disruption to medicine supplies and reiterated her earlier appeal for a transition period of at least two years.
Even though the influence of Brexit on overall business of GSK will not be material, as Britain only accounts for 4% of sales, GSK requires fall-back arrangements, including a way to retest batches of drugs that were manufactured in the United Kingdom and shipped to Europe.
“It is mainly related to the construction of new testing facilities across Europe and potential preparations for license changes as well,” said Walmsley regarding the contingency planning of the company.
“All of that work is underway in the detailed planning group, and we will be ready for it as necessary.”
Walmsley made her remarks to reporters after stating quarterly results on Wednesday.
Britain has a huge pharmaceuticals sector and produces many medicines that are used in Europe and in other countries. A chaotic exit from the bloc in March 2019 without a system in place to ensure that drug supplies would threaten those supply lines.
Drug companies wish to remain within the European regulatory system as far as possible, even as the London-based European Medicines Agency prepares to transfer to another city that is inside the European Union as a result of Brexit.
On Wednesday, David Davis, the Brexit minister, said that he was aiming for an outlined Brexit transition deal by the first quarter of next year. Businesses across all sectors are eager to see the details of such a deal as they establish investment plans for next year.