Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Drug Regulation

Britain without the EMA

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 17 May 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2168

Brexit has serious consequences for drug regulation and pharmacovigilance, but as Nigel Hawkes reports, little thought seems to have gone into limiting the damage

Many people were surprised when they woke on 24 June 2016 to find the UK had voted to leave the European Union, but few were as shocked as those whose job it is to license drugs and keep track of their adverse effects. The vote meant that the European Medicines Agency would have to relocate from London and that UK pharmacovigilance specialists faced an uncertain future.

In the big political picture, these are footnotes. There are, remarked Saad Shakir, director of the Drug Safety Research Unit, at a forum the unit held in London on 26 April, probably 100 other niche areas of professional life where Brexit will impose changes as large or larger. But in the clamour over trade deals, immigration, and the role of the European Court of Justice, the small corners risk …

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