Brexit to Have More Negative Impact on UK’s Healthcare Sector Than COVID-19 Pandemic

Brexit healthcare

While the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) removed the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, it introduced a wide range of changes to the UK’s healthcare industry, ranging from border checks to additional regulations for businesses based in the UK and EU. These border restrictions may drastically and permanently reshape the way that businesses trade and operate, says GlobalData a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Brexit and the Healthcare Industry – 2021’, reveals that more than half of surveyed healthcare industry professionals from the UK (55%) and the EU (60%) believed that Brexit would have more damaging effects on the UK’s healthcare sector than the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elton Kwok, Associate Research Manager at GlobalData, comments: “While the pandemic impacted many countries worldwide, the vaccination rollout gathering pace in the UK provides hope for the country to rebound. On the other hand, the impact of Brexit is yet to set in and it will be challenging to separate Brexit’s impact from the impact of the pandemic as these events are happening simultaneously.

Kwok continues: “Brexit is expected to be a bigger burden on sectors that rely on trade with the EU. On the other hand, the COVID-19 pandemic affected and will continue to affect services that rely on in-person interaction. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted supply chains when it began, those disruptions were short -lived compared to those caused by Brexit.”

Previous Brexit surveys conducted by GlobalData during 2018–2019 found that respondents’ sentiment was generally negative towards the UK’s healthcare prospects following Brexit. More than half of respondents (60%) indicated that their sentiment on the impact of Brexit on the UK’s healthcare sector remained the same after the UK-EU TCA was reached in December 2020. This suggests that healthcare professionals did not feel very optimistic following the withdrawal agreement. Moreover, around 25% of them believed that the withdrawal agreement has generated an even worse impact on the UK’s healthcare industry.

Kwok adds: “Respondents mostly attributed their negativity to the lack of clarity and uncertainty brought by the final agreement to the UK’s healthcare industry. Respondents with more negative sentiment were concerned about increased bureaucracy and costs associated with research and development, logistics, and supply chains. Despite the TCA being finalized, Brexit will continue to generate instability and uncertainty about the prospects of research, manufacturing, funding, talents attraction, regulatory affairs, and trade in the pharmaceutical industry.”

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