No-Deal Brexit could pose potential significant risk to Scottish NHS medicines budget

Released: Monday 3rd December 2018


For Immediate Release

No-Deal Brexit could pose potential significant risk to Scottish NHS medicines budget

Two leading companies that support life sciences, launch call for a five year transition period and a special deal for free movement of medicines and biological samples in new White Paper.

IQVIA and Q2 Solutions-a joint venture between IQVIA and Quest Diagnostics - made the recommendations in a White Paper, entitled ‘Scaling up Scottish life sciences after Brexit’. The White Paper is set to be launched at a meeting of the Scottish Life Sciences Association today (Monday, 3rd December 2018) at the Q2 Solutions laboratory Alba Campus Livingston.

IQVIA (formerly IMS Health and Quintiles), one of Scotland’s largest employers that supports the life sciences industry, has called for a five-year Brexit transition period, and a new arrangement that ensures global pharma and biotech companies continue to choose the UK as a top 3 country in which to launch new and innovative medicines. The call comes ahead of the UK’s looming departure from the European Medicines Agency as a consequence of Brexit.

In Scotland, the co-sponsors of the white paper have a combined employee base of 940 people – 240 IQVIA staff and 700 at Q2 Solutions. Both companies continues to create new jobs in Scotland with 70 new/incremental positions in the last year with many of them in scientific roles, such as highly qualified pathologists and laboratory personnel. IQVIA is the UK’s 4th largest employer within the life sciences space with a team of 3,800 employees working across the UK conducting clinical trials and real world evidence research.

Specifically, the ‘Scaling up Scottish life sciences after Brexit’ paper highlights the potential impact on the NHS medicines budget in Scotland of importing medicines that could lie outside of the World Trade Organisation’s Pharmaceutical Tariff Elimination Agreement (PTEA) – which has not been updated since 2010. An early impact assessment from IQVIA suggests up to 1,000 medicines and 700 active pharmaceutical ingredients may not be currently included in the outdated list - and could therefore be subject to tariffs when traded on WTO PTEA terms.

The White Paper sets out the implications of Brexit on the Scottish life-sciences sector and makes twelve recommendations to scale up the life sciences industry in Scotland following Brexit. Key recommendations include:

The UK Government should seek a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with the European Medical Agency, in the absence of continued membership to avoid delays in new innovative medicines reaching Scottish patients
There should be a five-year transition period, given the life sciences sector is subject to a uniquely high level of European regulation
Any trade deal must include the frictionless movement of life sciences related supplies and human biological specimens
There needs to be the flexibility and incentives to attract talented researchers and life sciences professionals to Scotland from EU countries
The Scottish and UK Governments need to invest more centrally and seek new financing options for life sciences innovation in the absence of EU-wide programmes

Tim Sheppard, Senior Vice President (SVP) and General Manager, Northern Europe IQVIA, said:

“As Scotland’s largest employers within the life sciences sector, IQVIA and Q2 Solutions are well placed to support the Scottish Government and the global pharmaceutical industry in maintaining the position of life sciences as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Scottish economy.

“Scotland is already a leading global hub for life sciences, employing over 37,000 people across some 700 organisations. Companies in this space contribute in excess of £4.2bn turnover and about £2bn gross to the Scottish economy. Our ambition is to see this growth continue in the future.”

Speaking about the White Paper following the launch, Tony Brown, Vice President and General Manager, Global Central Labs, Q2 Solutions, said:

“Life sciences is a hugely significant part of the Scottish economy, and its future in Scotland is at risk if we do not get the post-Brexit arrangements for the sector right. Our White Paper sets out the detail of the implications, and makes a series of recommendations about how the Scottish Government can support this industry to thrive in a post-Brexit context.”

“Whilst it is important to look for opportunities, it is also important to be clear on the risks. A no-deal Brexit, reverting to WTO rules, could have significant financial implications for the NHS in Scotland, and the wider life sciences sector. That is why we are calling for a longer transition period and a specific deal around our ongoing relationship with the European Medical Agency.”

Notes to the editor

Senior IQVIA Executives are available for interview, in first instance please direct all media inquiries to Peter Duncan ( / 07740 469 949) or Gareth Brown ( / 07907 520 571).
IQVIA is a leading human data sciences company of information, innovative technology solutions and contract research services focused on helping healthcare clients and governments find better solutions for patients. IQVIA conducts over 20 per cent of all commercial clinical trials in the NHS and operates a unique research model partnering with 3 exemplar NHS ‘Prime Sites’ (high investment and throughput clinical trial research centres) across Scotland, London and the SW Peninsular covering a research population of 13 million people.
Q2 Solutions is a leading clinical trial laboratory services company with end-to-end laboratory services and secure, enterprise-wide biospecimen and consent management solutions.
The White Paper, ‘Scaling up Scottish life sciences after Brexit’, can be accessed here.
Scotland is already a leading global hub for life sciences, employing over 37,000 people across some 700 organisations. Companies in this sector contribute in excess of £4.2bn turnover and about £2bn gross to the Scottish economy. Since 2010, company turnover increased by 29%, gross value rose by 24% and total employment in companies by 13%.

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