On 24 June 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU), marking the beginning of a difficult journey towards official exit from a bloc it has belonged to since 1972.
The UK withdrawal from the EU – commonly referred to as “Brexit” – will have a significant and extensive impact on the medical devices, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors in the life sciences industry. Exactly how this will play out is yet to be seen. The UK is home to operations of all of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies, as well as many smaller ones, including a flourishing bioscience industry and innovative startups.
There are numerous ways in which this decision will indirectly impact the industry, such as trade and customs, trade secrets, patenting and trademarks (which could impact on the ability to parallel trade), product labelling, immigration and research funding, to name a few.