Uncertainty is growing over Brexit, says animal medicine industry

Animal medicines businesses are becoming increasingly concerned about the future of the industry post-Brexit. Increasing levels of complexity and a lack of Government progress overall were found to be key contributors to the rising concerns, according to NOAH’s second Brexit Barometer report.

NOAH represents the UK animal medicines industry. Its aim is to promote the benefits of safe, effective, quality medicines for the health and welfare of all animals.

However, the findings revealed that despite an increase in levels of uncertainty compared to the previous Brexit Barometer in May 2017, the industry is by no means losing hope. NOAH’s Brexit Conference, held in November 2017, where the sentiment survey in the second Barometer was undertaken, revealed many areas of convergence and ways in which organisations and stakeholders across the sector are already working together to achieve a successful Brexit.

The changing sentiment was tracked across the same six lenses: animal health and welfare, public health and food production, trade and investment, R&D and innovation, bringing new products to market and post-licensing controls for the overall market. Key findings include:

-        Public health and food production remains the most optimistic of the six areas overall with over a third (38%) feeling ‘optimistic’ or ‘very optimistic’

-        More than a third (39%) now feel ‘optimistic’ or ‘very optimistic’ in comparison to 30% previously with regard to bringing a product to market

-        Trade and exports continue to be a cause for concern with almost a quarter of respondents (23%) now feeling ‘very pessimistic’ in comparison to 0% who previously felt this negative.

NOAH also gathered feedback from delegates on the level of progress the industry feels is being made by Government against each of the topics, which revealed an increasingly negative sentiment. 84% considered that Government is not progressing well with negotiations overall with additional key findings as below:

-        85% considered that in terms of bringing a product to market negotiations are not progressing well or even progressing at all

-         A close second in terms of limited progress was the trade and exports topic with only 20% reporting that progress is going well or reasonably well

-        The topic of animal health and welfare in the UK elicited the most positive response with almost half (45%) believing it is progressing reasonably well or well.

NOAH Chief Executive Dawn Howard said: “Our second Brexit Barometer report paints a picture of growing uncertainty, which we as an industry need to address. Whilst Government progress is a major contributor to the rising concerns, we cannot be complacent and simply wait for action from Government. Following our November conference, we undertook additional research with our members that revealed what the current landscape means to their customers and what they should do in response. The overriding sentiment as we enter the ‘post-divorce’ stage is that avoiding a ‘hard Brexit’ would present us with opportunities that we can capitalise upon and an optimistic undertone came through. We all recognise that there are steps that as an industry we can take and it is very reassuring to see convergence across our member organisations already taking shape.

“Recognising key areas of concern is of paramount importance so that we are ready to take action to achieve success within these areas. Safeguarding a skilled workforce, championing the UK jobs market and looking ahead to what may be in store with regard to regulatory changes and licensing frameworks are all possible even at this early stage. We will continue to work closely with our members and stakeholders to ensure that we make Brexit as successful as we possibly can for the animal medicines industry.”

The next Brexit Barometer will be launched in summer 2018.

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