In this post-Brexit era, SIOP Europe is committed to securing long-term collaboration in research, clinical trials and access to medicines in the best interest of children and young people with cancer.
Now that the United Kingdom has officially left the European Union, what does this mean for healthcare, research and for children and young people with cancer?
The post-Brexit transition period will safeguard that most things will stay the same until 31 December 2020. Most EU rules will remain unchanged until the deal is agreed by both parties, and until this ‘new relationship’ starts on 1 January 2021.
SIOP Europe will continue working to ensure that the issues facing children and young people with cancer are indeed at the forefront of the discussions and the agenda.
Continued cross-border cooperation is necessary
Paediatric cancer is a collection of rare diseases that together make up a leading cause of mortality in Europe. Continued cross-border cooperation on research and healthcare is instrumental to ensuring continued progress towards more and better cures in paediatric haemato-oncology.
Critical areas for continued cooperation include researcher mobility, cross border networks of clinical expertise, access to treatments, and the conduct of multi-country clinical trials.
UK members and partners are an integral part of the SIOPE community
SIOP Europe remains strongly committed to working together at a pan-European level with UK members and partners who are all united to ensure the best outcomes for childhood cancer patients and survivors during this post-Brexit transition period and when the ‘new relationship’ begins.
SIOPE is proud to have a President from the United Kingdom and more than 200 SIOPE UK members (our membership is not exclusive to people within the European Union) who greatly contribute to the implementation of the SIOPE Strategic Plan.
SIOPE especially values the enduring collaboration of British colleagues in jointly advancing medical research and promoting the best standards of care in paediatric haematology-oncology. This will not change: we will always consider our British members and partners as an integral part of the SIOPE community.
Access to medicines is crucial for both the EU and the UK
The transition period is critical to adapt to new regulatory requirements, manufacture and supply, customs arrangements, etc. to guarantee a continuous provision of medicines and medical technologies to patients.
Every month, around 45 million packs of medicines leave from the UK destined for patients in Europe and 37 million packs are heading from Europe to the UK. This amounts to around 1 billion packs of medicine crossing the border each year between the UK and the EU. The healthcare sector has invested heavily in ensuring that stakeholders are prepared for every eventuality.
Immediate and strong focus must be given to healthcare issues including the regulation and supply of medicines and medical technologies in this post-Brexit relationship.
Post-Brexit issues for discussion
Going forward, a number of issues will need to be addressed during the transition period and when defining the new relationship:
- How will EU member states mitigate any negative effects of Brexit on healthcare?
- How will a future deal ensure sufficient and timely supply of medicines and medical devices for both EU and UK patients?
- How to guarantee that future medicines and med tech licensing systems do not exacerbate delays in access to the most innovative treatments for patients, both across the EU and in the UK?
- How to ensure a common framework for collaboration in pan-European research, innovation networks and clinical trials, post Brexit?
Much needs to be discussed and worked out during the coming months this year.
We look forward to working with people across Europe and in the UK to ensure that the issues facing children and young people with cancer are indeed at the forefront of negotiations in order to bring a brighter future for children with cancer.
 European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), 10 December 2018, https://www.efpia.eu/news-events/the-efpia-view/statements-press-releases/efpia-notes-the-postponement-of-the-uk-parliament-debate-on-the-brexit-withdrawal-agreement-and-political-declaration/