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Brexit briefing


Brexit briefing

In the second instalment of a two-part article, NPA public affairs manager Gareth Jones considers further implications of Brexit

Following the EU referendum, a key negotiating point between the UK and the rest of the EU will be free movement of people. The hope that leaving the EU would reduce freedom of movement was a key factor for Brexit supporters. However, the European Commission and most EU member states believe that access to the free market and free movement of people are inseparable.

Whilst many employers have benefited from the availability of EU pharmacists, more UK undergraduate pharmacy places will reduce the need to bring in pharmacists from elsewhere in Europe. Therefore removing this option will have less impact than it would have about 10 years ago.

EU working time directive EU regulations currently limit employees to 48 working hours per week, unless they waive their right to this restriction. Depending on the deal struck with the rest of the EU, it may be possible to remove this restriction.

Procurement and competition law EU procurement and competition regulations underpin UK law in these areas. It seems unlikely that the UK would seek to change this law rapidly post-Brexit.

Data protection law The main data protection legislation in the UK follows the requirement of an EU Directive. Due to the global nature of the internet and data transmission, a UK-specific approach to data protection may not be effective. So UK data protection law may remain consistent with the rest of Europe. Health data is currently expected to be stored within the EU, but the UK authorities may want to retain health data within the country and under their control.

Falsified Medicines Directive The serialisation and authentication requirements of the Falsified Medicines Directive should be implemented by February 2019. It is unlikely that the UK will have left the EU by this time and will therefore have to comply. Whether the UK has to comply in the longer-term will depend on its new relationship with the EU. Norway, for example, is required to implement the directive. Even if the UK is not legally obliged to implement the directive, the government may do so voluntarily, particularly as tackling counterfeit medicines is an MHRA priority.

Trade deals Progress with the EU/US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal is very slow, and many people in Europe are sceptical about whether it will ever be signed. Brexit may release the UK from obligations agreed under this deal. TTIP may anyway have little impact on UK community pharmacy, which is highly liberalised by European standards.

Cross-border cooperation on public health The EU supports the coordination of many public health initiatives, including tackling antimicrobial resistance. It is to be hoped that this work will be unaffected by Brexit.


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