Pharmaceutical industry reaction to UK-Japan trade agreement

The UK and Japan have reached an agreement on the terms of a future trade deal. This will allow pharmaceutical companies in the UK to continue trading largely as they do now come 1 January 2021.

The UK-Japan agreement provides much-needed continuity to businesses in our sector as they focus on preparations for the end of the transition period. Claire Machin

Critically, as part of the Free Trade Agreement, the UK and Japan will incorporate the functions of the existing EU/Japan Mutual Recognition Agreement for medicines which will see both sides continue to accept each other’s drug safety testing and inspections before export. Having an MRA in place avoids unnecessary duplication, disruption to supply chains or delays to patient access to medicine.

In response to the details of the deal, Claire Machin, Head of International Policy at the ABPI said:

“The UK-Japan agreement provides much-needed continuity to businesses in our sector as they focus on preparations for the end of the transition period.

“These early deals are an opportunity for the Government to set out a future trade agenda which supports innovative British industries, encourages R&D investment and strengthens the UK’s role as a leader in life sciences. We look forward to working with them to achieve that in future agreements."

The UK and Japan are two of the most advanced hubs for life sciences in the world and home to innovative pharmaceutical companies researching the next generation of life-changing medicines and vaccines.

In 2019, the UK exported £23.3 billion worth of pharmaceutical goods. 3.3% (£0.76 billion) of this was to Japan, making pharmaceutical products the third-highest good in value terms exported from the UK to Japan.[1]

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The ABPI exists to make the UK the best place in the world to research, develop and use new medicines. We represent companies of all sizes who invest in discovering the medicines of the future. 

Our members supply cutting edge treatments that improve and save the lives of millions of people. We work in partnership with Government and the NHS so patients can get new treatments faster and the NHS can plan how much it spends on medicines. Every day, we partner with organisations in the life sciences community and beyond to transform lives across the UK.