By Amy Fleming

Published: 14 February 2017

Tuesday 7 February saw the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Medical Research host its first event of 2017, 'How to secure the best for life sciences after Brexit: Meet the patients, researchers and other experts'. It also marked the APPG's largest collaborative event yet, held in partnership with the APPG on Rare, Genetic and Undiagnosed Conditions and the APPG for Muscular Dystrophy, as well as 3 industry partners: ABPI, BIA and BIVDA.

With 26 MPs and Peers in attendance, the drop-in event sought to inform parliamentarians of some of the major challenges and opportunities facing the life sciences sector as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

Highlights from the event

The event provided parliamentarians with the opportunity to meet with over twenty experts in their respective fields, including patients and researchers. Discussions were broken down into five key areas:

  1. Movement of people
  2. Funding and collaboration
  3. Regulation of research
  4. Regulation of medicines and technologies
  5. EU-facilitated networks

Jo Churchill MP, the new Chair of the APPG on Medical Research, welcomed guests to the event and introduced the keynote speaker, Professor Sir Robert Lechler, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Sir Robert spoke about what he considers to be the 'four P's’- the four most vital components for the success of the life sciences sector; people, partnerships, pounds and permissions (i.e. regulation). These four P's reiterated the importance of the key issues listed above, and emphasised the unity on these issues that exists among organisations spanning the breadth of the life sciences sector. Jo agreed, stating that the event “demonstrated the united aspirations of the life sciences sector to ensure that innovation and research thrives and flourishes in the UK.”

The Brexit event was certainly very timely, as across the road MPs sat in the Commons Chamber waiting their turn to speak in the committee stage of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The following day the Bill passed the committee stage by 494 votes to 122.

The APPG on Medical Research

This APPG event marks one of the many ways in which AMRC are engaging with the Brexit policy agenda. In fact the day before the event took place, AMRC’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs met with key figures from Labour’s Brexit team, including Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer. We will continue to share our key messages with government, civil servants and key stakeholders throughout the negotiation process to help ensure the best possible outcome for the life sciences after Brexit.

If you would like to know more about this topic, please take a look at the briefing and infographic shared at the event.