On Tuesday night, MPs in Westminster adopted an amendment to the Trade Bill which indicates support for the United Kingdom remaining in the regulatory framework of the European Medicines Agency (EMA)
Clause 17 of the Trade Bill was proposed by Phillip Lee MP and 305 MPs voted in favour to 301. Last month, Phillip Lee MP resigned from the government in response to how he felt Brexit was being handled.
The vote concerned remaining in the EMA and ensuring regulatory cooperation continues as part of the European medicines regulatory network. The EMA is an agency of the EU which ensures the protection of public and animal health in EU member states and countries which are in the European Economic Area (EEA).
The EMA has various responsibilities including enabling the development of and access to medicines in the EU and guaranteeing the safety of these medicines.
This amendment is a positive indication that the current pace of regulation will continue. We hope that this means that brain tumour patients will still be able to access new medicines which emerge. With fewer treatments available for rare diseases, it is essential that the UK remains collaborative with its EU partners in the search for better treatment options.
Remaining part of the EMA and its regulatory network should ensure that patients are able to get access to safe, new treatments.
Sadly, it does not guarantee that the UK will remain in the EMA, but rather that the Government must take an initial position of trying to attain an agreement that the UK can continue to access the European medicines regulatory network following Brexit. The success of the amendment adds pressure to the government to properly discuss ways in which the UK can remain in the network.
The Charity conducts work across borders as part of our fight to defeat brain tumours. We welcome this amendment as a step towards ensuring continued collaboration with the EU around access to medicines.
Remaining in the EMA will ensure the UK has the same regulatory framework for licensing and approving medicines as other EU member states, and help reduce the possibility of delays in patients across the UK accessing new, innovative treatments.