EU accused of risking lives deadlock over Britain’s coronavirus drugs after Brexit

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EU sources have rejected the argument that tests of “relocation” to the EU would risk lives. They insisted that most of the test laboratories had already transferred their credentials to EU jurisdictions and that the industry was ready for the end of the transition period on December 31.Sam Lowe, a trade expert at the Center for European Reform’s think tank, said: “After Brexit, the EU cannot ignore the role of the UK in its medical supply chains and the fact is that the EU will still import a lot of medicines from the UK. . ”

Britain is the largest supplier of EU medicines by volume and the third largest in terms of value. Trade between the UK and the EU was € 32 billion in 2018, with Britain purchasing € 20 billion in EU medicines and selling € 12 billion in the world. block.

Supply chains are highly integrated, with British supplies accounting for a third of EU demand and British manufacturers importing 54% of their ingredients from the block.

The coronavirus has revealed the EU’s dependence on imports of medical supplies, particularly from China. The EU, which faces a long-standing drug shortage, should diversify its suppliers to strengthen its resilience to future shocks, said Lowe.

“Britain will compete with China to be the third largest supplier of medical products to the EU even if new trade friction between the EU and the United Kingdom reduces trade. It is in the EU’s interest to respond to the UK’s request, ”he said.

Drugs are repeatedly tested in batches, which must be shipped under strict storage rules and may, for some rare diseases, be as small as a single dose.

If the EU and UK laboratories return different results, the release of medicines in the two jurisdictions would be stopped with potential delays of four to six weeks.

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