What 2020 means for the life sciences


Sally Shorthose and Rumana Khanom

What 2020 means for the life sciences

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Between Brexit and COVID-19, 2020 has had seismic implications for the life sciences industries. Sally Shorthose and Rumana Khanom of Bird & Bird report.

2020 has been a tumultuous year in many respects and the conflation of a pandemic and the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU has profound implications for the life sciences and medical devices industries in the UK and the EU. In this article, we consider how and why these events will have such an effect and how affected businesses may need to prepare for these.

Brexit implications

At 11pm on December 31, 2020, the Brexit transition period will come to an end. At this point, the UK will no longer be required to comply with EU rules and regulations and will no longer be part of the single market and the customs union. In due course, divergence from EU regulations is anticipated, although the extent of such divergence has yet to be seen and continues to be a source of controversy.

Some would like the UK to continue to align itself to the EU standards to facilitate trade with the EU, while others see opportunities to differentiate the UK from the EU. One area where we are already witnessing the beginning of this divergence is in the field of medical devices and medicines.

Brexit, COVID-19, Bird & Bird, life sciences industry, pandemic, MHRA, medical devices, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, BioNTech, vaccine, WHO, FDA, Moderna