LONDON (Reuters) - The British government sought to reassure drug companies and biotech firms on Monday by calling for continued co-operation with the European Union over drug regulation after Brexit.
Drugmakers, which overwhelmingly favored remaining in the EU, account for 25 percent of all UK business research spending and companies have warned that Brexit threatens uncertainty, added complexity and potential drug approval delays.
Jeremy Hunt, the health minister, and Greg Clark, the business minister, wrote a letter to the Financial Times outlining how Britain and the EU can work together.
The letter says the government's priority is to protect patient safety, maintain Britain's role as a center for research and promote public health globally.
The ministers said there are numerous examples where the partnership between Britain and the EU have helped patients, including the licensing of 130 products.
"The UK is fully committed to continuing the close working relationship we enjoy with our European partners," they said.
"Our overall aim is to ensure that patients in the UK and across the EU continue to be able to access the best and most innovative medicines."
Although the impact of Brexit on global companies like GlaxoSmithKline <GSK.L> and AstraZeneca <AZN.L> is likely to be limited, the UK pharmaceuticals trade association has warned that having Britain outside the EU could undermine future investment, research and jobs in the country.
(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Alexander Smith)