Brexit and the Healthcare Industry – Thematic Intelligence

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Brexit and the Healthcare Industry Thematic Report Overview

It has been three years since the UK departed from the EU. Even though Brexit was feared to impact UK’s economic growth at that time, Great Britain had to simultaneously deal with additional challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, and the Russia-Ukraine war. While some believed that leaving the EU would bring opportunities for the UK and its healthcare sector, Brexit was also blamed for uncertainty, workforce shortages, and worsened economic performance.

Brexit is believed to have a greater damaging impact on the UK’s healthcare sector than inflation or the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare industry professionals indicated that their sentiment on the impact of Brexit on the healthcare sector has become more negative over the past three years. Most respondents did not believe that the UK remained an attractive destination for healthcare research and manufacturing following Brexit.

According to GlobalData’s The State of the Biopharmaceutical Industry 2023 report, Brexit was scored as a trend having a negative impact on the global biopharmaceutical industry in 2023 by the surveyed healthcare industry professionals. However, the proportion of the respondents giving a positive score to Brexit has increased since 2022.

In the Brexit and the healthcare industry thematic report, GlobalData examines the business environment, weighs the challenges and opportunities, and assesses the risks that the UK’s healthcare sector is continuing to face post-Brexit. The report also highlights the impact from global inflation and measures how the UK would have performed had it not decided to rupture its ties with the EU. The objectives of this report include benchmark factors that will impact healthcare, determine impact on research and manufacturing, track changes to corporate strategy, examine ongoing healthcare-related policies and initiatives, determine changes in respondents’ attitudes and perceptions, assess the impact of inflation, and capture physicians’ perception of Brexit.

Impact of Brexit on Healthcare

The UK is home to some of the top research universities in the world. Before Brexit, the UK was known as a global leader in pipeline development. Nevertheless, there was a slight decline in clinical trials that commenced in the UK after the initiation of Brexit. The lowest number of initiated clinical trials in the UK was seen in 2020.

Pharmaceutical supply chains, healthcare workforce, and healthcare system delivery were selected as the top areas that saw the most substantial decline after the UK’s departure from the EU. While some supply chain issues have been partially sorted, such as Windsor Framework ensuring the supply and access of medicines from the UK into NI, the weaker pound and more bureaucracy at the borders are impacting costs and slowing down the movement of medicines.

Impact of Brexit on Healthcare, by Various Aspects of the Healthcare sector

Impact of Brexit on Healthcare, by Various Aspects of the Healthcare sector

For more insights on the impact of Brexit in the healthcare industry, download a free report sample

Impact of Brexit on Research and Manufacturing

Regulatory implications of the UK leaving the EEA was the top factor impacting the UK healthcare industry post Brexit. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most regulated and complex industries in the world, and the UK is not an exception. Healthcare industry professionals are concerned about the changes that any new regulations may bring.

According to respondents in GlobalData surveys conducted in 2018, 2019, and 2021, regulatory implications followed by drug supply chain disruptions were the two biggest challenges for the healthcare sector to face post Brexit.

Initiatives that Could Help the UK’s Healthcare Industry to Recover

Even though UK clinical trial activity has remained relatively consistent since the EU membership referendum result, the respondents believed that reducing barriers to collaborations between the UK and EU on clinical research and aligning closely to the EU’s medical devices and drug approval system would be the top two initiatives that could help the UK’s pharmaceutical industry to grow post-Brexit.

Like the 2021 findings, investing in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, speeding up the approval process for medical devices and medicines, and relaxing clinical trial regulations were among the most favored initiatives.

For more insights on the initiatives that could help the UK’s healthcare industry to recover post-Brexit, download a free report sample


The research source in this report is based on the opinions and expectations of 120 global healthcare industry professionals surveyed from February 9, 2023, to March 6, 2023, and 85 UK physicians surveyed from January 31, 2023 to March 8, 2023, to gauge Brexit impact on the healthcare industry. Objectives of this report include:

  • Benchmark factors that will impact healthcare
  • Determine impact on research and manufacturing
  • Track changes to corporate strategy
  • Examine ongoing healthcare-related policies and initiatives
  • Determine changes in respondents’ attitudes and perceptions
  • Assess the impact of inflation
  • Capture physicians’ perception of Brexit

Key Highlights

  • The UK’s healthcare sector is facing greater negative impact from Brexit than other macro events.
  • The result “reversal of the referendum” remained the best outcome of Brexit for the healthcare industry.
  • Regulatory divergence is the healthcare sector’s main concern associated with the UK’s departure from the EU.
  • The UK should reduce barriers to the UK-EU collaboration on clinical research to help its healthcare sector to thrive.
  • Brexit impact on companies and their corporate strategies in the UK and across the EU continues to materialize.
  • Departure from the EU exacerbated the challenges faced by the UK’s healthcare sector.

Reasons to Buy

  • Develop and design your corporate strategies post-Brexit through an in-house expert analysis of the key factors to impact the post-Brexit UK healthcare industry.
  • Develop business strategies by understanding the key factors to impact healthcare research and manufacturing in the UK post-Brexit.
  • Stay up to date on the industry’s changing sentiment towards Brexit from within the healthcare industry.
  • Identify emerging industry trends post-Brexit to gain a competitive advantage.
  • Understand current macro events impacting healthcare industry in the UK post-Brexit.

Office of National Statistics
International Monetary Fund
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
Johnson & Johnson
British Medical Journal
Bank of England

Table of Contents

1. Study Design

2. Executive Summary

3. UK Pharma Industry and Brexit

4. Outcome of Brexit

5. Factors to Impact Healthcare

6. Impact on Research and Manufacturing

7. Impact on Corporate Strategy

8. Impact on the NHS

9. Brexit and Inflation

10. Future Prospects

11. Summary of Key Findings

12. Appendix

13. Contact Us

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