Astrazeneca: "The plans before a hard Brexit have already cost us 45 million euros" | Economy

Astrazeneca: "The plans before a hard Brexit have already cost us 45 million euros" | Economy

Question: "The president of the British Pharmaceutical Association, Mike Thompson, has said a few days ago that he is not sure that the politicians have understood what this sector is facing because of Brexit. Do you share that statement?"

Answer: "Yes, I share it, that's why I'm doing this interview." The complexity of the pharmaceutical industry, with its constant flow of merchandise across borders, and all the licenses and certifications that this requires, is not something that can be readjusted from the This is why we are trying to ensure that the medicines reach patients during a period of time that can be very uncertain, I do not believe that politicians, on either side of the English Channel, seek to cause a shortage of But there is a need for a greater understanding of how complex this sector is, and what the unintended consequences might be: We can not reach a situation in which people ask us: Why did not they tell us? That's why we're telling public opinion and politicians. "

Q. And what would be necessary to obtain greater tranquility?

R. "First of all, a period of serious transition, that does not force to change too many things, and that helps to eliminate the current uncertainty, although, obviously, that transitory period will end some day, so the more certainties we have, the better. The Government of the United Kingdom has taken an important step by committing itself to accept the medicines that are approved by the European Medicines Agency, I would argue that Brussels would do the same with the future British medicines agency. "

Q. What preparations have you made at AstraZeneca, and since when?

R. "Since the Brexit was approved in referendum we have studied alternatives to the supply from the United Kingdom, and for us the obvious alternative is Switzerland, we have the necessary facilities to carry out the plan, but it is a duplication of efforts that already It cost us 45 million euros If the Brexit arrives without an agreement, on March 29, we could not produce and deliver some medicines on time, so we are accumulating reserves of these drugs and transporting them to storage places near the destination market , instead of waiting and having to cross the border. "

Q. The Government of the United Kingdom has asked you to prepare reservations for a period of six weeks. Does not it sound too alarmist?

R. "Absolutely, but that is the reality: if new frontiers arise, the number of trucks that circulate today is already exorbitant." If they are stopped, they inspect the merchandise, check the documents and all those details, so, suddenly, Starting on March 29, the effort will be huge. "

Q. Are you afraid of a reduction in research funding after Brexit?

R. "The UK Government has already offered its participation in future European research programs, now it is up to the EU to clarify if that is possible, I think it would be good for both, what is happening now between London and Brussels is not the only thing What happens in the world, we have a huge competitor in the United States, and an increasingly bigger one in China, if both sides of the English Channel are still focused on this 'small issue' that we are dealing with, they will be focusing on a If the European Union were to break down, other countries such as the United States or China would benefit, if Europeans started to go back to the 'Good Old Days', which basically meant two world wars, and we return to be more nationalistic and less European states, we will do considerable damage.

Q. Do you not have the impression that sensitive issues, such as internal security or the exchange of medicines, are not receiving the necessary attention in the negotiations?

A. I think that sometimes politics mixes, including domestic politics, on both sides of the Canal. It is not something that happens only in the United Kingdom. It also happens in France or Germany. Sometimes even trade agreements become a matter of domestic policy. And it is intended to achieve the whole without going into the details. The problem with this approach, from a business point of view, is that it builds a high wall of uncertainty in front of us. And we must make an effort to compensate him. I believe that it would be much easier to negotiate separately each economic sector, even if it is less attractive from a political point of view. It would have been much more pragmatic to accelerate the Brexit negotiations. An unrealistic approach, I have already been told, but that's why I'm not a political leader.

Q. What is the reproach of the British Government that the "Brussels Bubble" and its legal dogmatism is to blame for the lack of progress?

R.No, it is a general approach with which I do not agree. In our sector the EU has done quite well. Cooperation agreements between all European countries, starting with Erasmus, for example, have been very good for our industry. The difficulty of all this does not lie in the will, or bad will, of the different countries. For all, it is an area of ​​highest priority. The problem lies in the practical aspects. The British want to leave the EU. Very well. From my democratic point of view it is a decision that corresponds to them. For me that is not the question. the question is what do we do then, and what are the rules with which from now on AstraZeneca should try from Cambridge with the rest of the world.


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