Exiting the EU could prevent Britain from being among the first nations to get the coronavirus vaccine quickly and cheaply as well, health experts warned.
A vaccine against coronavirus is not expected to be available for more than a year, and by then the UK is most likely to be out of the authority of the EU’s medicines regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The pharmaceutical firms are also more likely to prioritise the EU market first rather than considering submitting their drug to the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency first.
“The European Medicines Agency is representing a patient pool of 500 million-odd patients. That seems like a more lucrative market for a drug company or a vaccine maker to prioritise.” Assistant professor of health policy at the London School of Economics, Olivier Wouters, told politico.eu:
The European Medicines Agency has an emergency system for the fast-track approval of any new vaccine in the event of a pandemic with an authorisation given in 70 days instead of the usual 210 days.
Mr Wouters said he is not sure Britain would get access to the system even when applied.
“I’m not sure that the European counterparts would accept the UK authorities cherry-picking where they want to be part of European legislation and take part in European initiatives,” Mr Wouters said.
The Chancellor is getting ready to boost post-Brexit exports for UK businesses by making £5 billion of loans available in today’s Budget.
Rishi Sunak is set to hand over £5 billion to UK Export Finance (Ukef), the Government’s export credit agency that provides loans to overseas buyers of British goods and services.
The Treasury said the money would help British exporters to improve their global sales as Britain warms up for life outside the European Union. The Chancellor is helping to top up the purchasing power of those abroad by providing a competitive loan.