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MPs vote to stay in EMA after Brexit

Published on 19/07/18 at 09:28am

British MPs have voted for the UK's continued participation in the regulatory network operated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) after Brexit.

MPs yesterday voted 305-301 in favour of continued involvement with the EMA after Brexit. The government will now be tasked with securing a deal in which the UK is able to remain an “active participant” in the EMA following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

The vote determined that: “It shall be the objective of an appropriate authority to take all necessary steps to implement an international trade agreement, which enables the UK to fully participate after exit day in the European medicines regulatory network partnership between the European Union, European Economic Area and the European Medicines Agency.”

The government confirmed that it would make an “appropriate financial contribution” in return for continued participation in the EMA’s regulatory activity. The decision may place Britain in a similar position to countries such as Liechtenstein and Norway who participate in the EMA’s regulatory network, despite not being members of the European Union.

The Drug Safety Research Unit (DSRU) welcomed the decision in stating that: “The DSRU believes that the overall aim should be to ensure that citizens of the UK and the EU continue to gain access to the best and most innovative medicines. The DSRU will continue to support the MHRA (the UK medicines regulator) and the EMA in their efforts to achieve this aim.”

While 37 million packs of medicine travel from the EU into the UK each month, 45 million packs of medicine travel in the opposite direction in the same period of time. However while the vote pushes the government towards maintaining its ties with the EMA, the terms of the deal now lies in the hands of EU negotiators.

Louis Goss

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