Facing unprecedented challenges associated with Brexit, on 13 April the UK’s major clinical research organizations (CROs) met with the Rt Hon Hilary Benn (Labour – Leeds Central) to tour Covance’s research facilities in Leeds and discuss the implications of the impending separation from the European Union. The Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO), facilitated the discussion between Benn and seven CROs with active operations in the UK, to examine the industry’s role in advancing new medicines, Brexit-related concerns and how the industry can retain its competitiveness.
The clinical research industry reaches more than 35,000 patients in the UK through over 1,600 studies each year. ACRO member companies are also a major source of UK employment, providing over 13,000 highly skilled jobs, including about 300 jobs in Leeds. With pan-European health, data, privacy and employment implications, the UK CRO industry has unique concerns as it grapples with the UK’s pending withdrawal from the EU.
“I learned a great deal about the important role played by CROs in clinical research and the development of new drugs,” said Benn, Chair of Exiting the European Union Committee. “We also discussed ACRO’s concerns about the implications of Brexit for ensuring a continuing strong relationship between the MHRA and the EMA and the need to maintain continuity and alignment with EU regulations such as the Clinical Trial Regulation and the General Data Protection Regulation.”
Direct discussions with MPs at research sites can illustrate the work of the industry, its employees and the positive impacts of CROs. “With their critical role in advancing innovative new medicines for Europe and the world, the UK’s clinical research organizations are an important voice,” said Karen Noonan, ACRO’s Vice President, Global Regulatory Policy. “As we look toward an even stronger future for clinical research across the UK, we want this site and the entire UK industry to be competitive. It is vitally important that we discuss the challenges, decisions and policies surrounding Brexit.”
The Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO) represents companies that provide a variety of specialized services that support the development of new pharmaceuticals, biologics, and medical devices. Through its member companies, ACRO helps improve the quality, efficiency and safety of biomedical research. ACRO member companies employ more than 130,000 professionals worldwide and conduct research in more than 100 countries. For more information, please visit www.acrohealth.org.