UK Biotech

Survey says: Brexit blues hit biopharma as industry execs overwhelmingly turn thumbs down on the UK’s future

Whatever your thoughts about Brexit — for or against — the political angst that it has provoked in the UK in recent months has triggered a steady erosion in the global pharma industry’s opinion of the country as an attractive place to do research and manufacturing. And inside the UK, the daily din of controversy has provoked a clear crisis of confidence in the industry’s future.

GlobalData has been surveying a mix of pharma execs around the world each quarter this year. And after about half of their British respondents had provided a thumbs up initially, only 17% were ready to affirm that the UK will remain an attractive destination for R&D/manufacturing work.


In the EU, the political and economic picture in the UK was always dark, with only 28% offering a “yes” vote to GlobalData’s survey question at the beginning of this year. That number has now dropped to a bleak 19%.

Curiously, the US execs remain the most optimistic, though American pharma execs have also been less and less likely to see the UK remain in its perch as a valued place to do business. The 53% “yes” vote in Q1 has now dropped to 38%.

(This is a crucial question for the UK, and we’d like to take the pulse on this issue ourselves. So we created a snap poll for you to take here. We’ll offer the results on Twitter and in the Monday report.)

The UK government has been pulling out all stops to try and bolster confidence in the country’s biopharma industry, where GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca are based. But a series of bleak economic forecasts predicting a shrinking economy have come out recently against a backdrop of tribal warfare in Parliament as political leaders debate a deal to leave the EU and whether a new vote should be held.

The pharma industry is just one of many weather vanes to watch during the debate. But with the big players holding back new investments in the country and distributors stockpiling drugs to avoid potential disruptions that could occur, Brexit is facing some very stiff headwinds from the industry now.


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