UK Medtechs Get A Touch More Certainty With Brexit Transition Agreement
With the UK scheduled to leave the EU one year, the UK medtech and lifesciences industries were becoming increasingly concerned about the government's lack ofplanning and the risk of being left high and dry in the post-Brexit environment. But the UK has bought more time now that the EU agreed to a withdrawal transition phase until the end of 2020. There are potentially meaningful positives in the agreement for medtechs on either side of the English Channel.
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The latest round of EU Brexit negotiations were bruising encounters for the UK, whose perceived selective approach to EU membership was rebuffed again. The talks coincided with the restatement of the government's position on device- and pharma-related Brexit issues. UK medtechs may well be looking at the June EU Council meeting as the point of no return.
The case for and against Brexit is only becoming more complex as the months advance toward Brexit Day (March 29, 2019) and the December 2020 end of the UK transition/implementation period. Offering what support it can, UK medical device industry association ABHI held a Brexit information seminar in April. At the gathering, UK notified body BSI revealed the thinking behind its current plans.
The UK continues to press for favorable trading and regulatory conditions with the EU in its Brexit planning. But EU negotiators seem likely to play it by the book, with no favors shown. The medtech industry watched as the EU withdrawal agreement was approved by the EU27 at the March 2018 Euro Summit. Some weeks prior to that, MedTech Europe chief executive Serge Bernasconi told In Vivo of his fears for EU medtech if the industry was too slow in preparing for UK withdrawal.