Why it matters
The decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union presents a challenge to ensure it does not leave patients at a loss. The UK is an important partner in research, innovation, trade and many other aspects as part of its membership of the European Union. Whilst healthcare has not been high on the negotiation agenda, the risks to timely supply of medicines, drug licencing, leading research cooperation and pooling of expertise regarding for example rare cancers under the European Reference Networks remain a real concern for patients in the UK and the EU. As the European Medicines Agency has relocated to the Netherlands, it is important it resumes its activities at full capacity as soon as possible to avoid any impact on patients across Europe.
“Brexit has great implications in various areas, public health, patient safety, access to medicine and medical devices, research and many others. When it comes to those areas relevant to healthcare, patients’ interest should be shaping the agenda of both sides of the negotiating parties”
What ECPC adds
ECPC extended its support to its members immediately after the UK’s vote to leave the EU in 2016 and has since ensured that our member patient organisations in the UK retain their ECPC membership, thus benefiting from pan-European patient advocacy cooperation. ECPC has played an active role in the European health community coming together as a united voice in Brexit policy discussions to secure patients’ interests in the negotiations. Jointly, the group organised two policy events in Brussels to raise the concerns of the community on the impact it may have on patients, and published questions and guidance on important unanswered questions to address. As Brexit uncertainty remains, ECPC continues to support the group to ensure that the risk in Brexit’s impact on patients and public health across Europe is addressed and resolved in the negotiations.