Brexit uncertainty threatens UK medical technology sector


A new report has revealed that regulatory uncertainty in the wake of Brexit poses a threat to the UK’s medical technology industry. Further findings in the report indicate that the UK must match EU regulation and research funding into Med Tech to preserve jobs and investment.

The warning from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) is the latest to join the list of concerns that are reported to arise once the UK leaves the European Union.

The IME report titled, ‘Medical Devices and CE Marking: The Impact of Brexit,’ said the UK needs to harmonise with EU regulations on medical devices and invest in research to avoid the risk of losing billions of pounds in terms of export opportunities and thousands of jobs.

It urged the UK government to negotiate a compliancy agreement with the EU on medical technology to continue with EU CE marking process, which allows medical devices and equipment to be exported into the continent.

The report is also seeking more clarity on how the UK will address the issue of more than £1bn of shortfall one it is no longer eligible for European Research Council funding.

The medical technology sector is worth £17bn to the UK economy, and supports about 90,000 jobs.

The report stated that the UK Government must negotiate with EU on continued CE compliance standards for UK medical technology manufacturers.

The arrangement needs support through parallel policies to encourage long-term investment in the sector. The goal is to attract small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to invest in the country in the long term for innovation and product development.

The UK industry and the NHS  are urged work together to retain their influence on future European regulation.

IME healthcare head Helen Meese said: “Leaving the EU without the UK medical technology industry suffering considerable long-term damage, particularly for small businesses, will be a huge challenge.

“As part of the UK’s Brexit deal, it is vital that the UK is able to maintain continuity with the EU CE certification processes, and enable UK manufacturers to export medical devices into the €100bn European Med Tech market.

Meese noted that the UK Government should not forget to use the purchasing power of the NHS to help attract new business into the sector and retain influence over future European regulation.

“The Government also needs to outline exactly how UK Research and Innovation bodies such as InnovateUK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council will address the more than €1bn a year funding short-fall from what the UK currently receives from the European Research Council.”

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