>> Brexit is getting real, at least for the world's big drug makers, and anyone who depends on their products. The EU is set to move its medicine regulator from London to Amsterdam. But the move threatens to disrupt what is already a year's long process to roll out new medicines, and has drug makers scrambling for contingency plans.
Reuters Ben Hirschler has been watching from London.>> If there is a delay in approvals, then we may see European patients getting new drugs for conditions like cancer, or multiple sclerosis. Those are two drugs that are gonna be filed for approval quite soon. They may get them later than patients in America, or maybe even China.
>> Part of the problem is that although the European Medicines Agency has some 900 staff, it estimates at least 200 will choose to quit rather then move to Amsterdam, possibly many more. Entire departments could potentially be gutted. The split also means much more red tape for companies.>> Companies are gonna have to refile some of their license applications in order to make sure that they comply with EU 27 rules.
So for example, a drug that's manufactured in Britain, there will need to be a new license for that drug applied for in Europe, and there may also need to be new tests when it's imported into Europe.>> Now time is running short, Britain's deadline to leave the EU is only 16 months away.
Yet it took several years just to move the EMA a few hundred meters from their old offices in London into their current location. Artist mockups of their new Dutch digs can be seen here. Industry reps told Reuters they think it's overly optimistic that the agency can move in time.
That may mean temporary office space will have to be found in the meantime, and more delays.