RCP joins European parliament debate on value of UK medical research

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is joining European policymakers and research colleagues in the European parliament this week for a debate and report launch on the value of the UK’s medical research sector to the EU.

The event, organised by Cancer Research UK, will highlight why research must be prioritised for the benefit of patients in forthcoming discussions on the UK’s new relationship with the EU. The RCP is represented by Paul Belcher, principal European adviser.

Cancer Research UK – together with its partners Arthritis UK, the British Heart Foundation, MQ Mental Health, the Wellcome Trust, the Association of Medical Research Charities, the Medical Research Council and the Academy of Medical Sciences – commissioned the report in late 2016 to assess the value of the UK’s scientific and research sector to the EU and its benefit to EU patients and researchers. 

RCP briefing and consultation response

RCP has produced a briefing, Brexit: What does it mean for medical research?, which highlights the importance of EU funding for UK medical research, as well as the importance of access to European-wide clinical trials and treatments, particularly for rare conditions. The RCP has put forward the following recommendations:

  • The UK should negotiate continued access to funding, or provide equivalent replacement funding for research so that patients have access to the best care in the future.
  • The UK’s exit from the EU must not impact patients’ ability to participate in high-quality research.
  • The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) should continue to provide advice and act as a leader of regulation globally, working collaboratively with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) wherever possible so that the UK remains an attractive place to invest, ensuring that there is no delay for patients accessing new treatments.
  • The government must clarify how adoption of EU regulations will impact on the UK in order to reduce uncertainty and confusion.

Furthermore, the RCP has responded to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into the implications and opportunities for science and research of the UK leaving the EU.