EU nationals will have their rights guaranteed, but staying in the EMA could be difficult, says former PM David Cameron

Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron discussed the future of medicines regulation in Europe post-Brexit, building a trade deal and EU nationals right to work in the UK in his keynote speech at the 2017 BIO Convention

Addressing the magnitude of the decision to call the referendum, David Cameron admitted that he would think about it "every day until he died."

Around the question of EU nationals' right to work in the UK, Cameron said: "Don't worry about EU nationals working in your business, their rights will be guaranteed. Don't worry about accessing talent from the EU, some form of online work permit will be available. Spend your time on the exact nature of the trading relationship between UK and EU.”

The UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) has been working to ensure that sector concerns around the future of medicines regulation are addressed in the Brexit negotiations.

Cameron suggested that Britain could try and stay in the EMA, recognising that it may be difficult, and also suggested that the UK could try and have an equivalence deal between the EMA and MHRA.

Cameron added: “If Britain was a small country that could be pushed around I’d be worried — but we are the sixth largest economy and have the ability to negotiate a fair outcome.”

Cameron also spoke about how the illness of his son Ivan had had a big influence on his thinking about the life sciences sector and that he had always tried to boost life sciences as PM.

BIA CEO, Steve Bates, said: “David Cameron asked the sector to focus on getting the trading relationship between the UK and the EU right in the Brexit negotiations. This is exactly what the BIA is doing."

"Helpfully he posited several Brexit scenarios as possibilities - including some soft Brexit scenarios such as a sector specific deal for biotech and pharma."

“It was great to see him championing the UK sector and our charity of the year Alzheimer's Research UK.”

More than 500 UK delegates have headed to the West Coast to showcase their businesses and represent the interests of UK bioscience to the BIO convention’s 16,000+ attendees from 76 countries.

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