Germany's Merck latest to commit to UK post-Brexit

By Melissa Fassbender

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: iStock/Evgeny Gromov)
(Image: iStock/Evgeny Gromov)

Related tags United kingdom Eu

Companies are continuing to invest in the United Kingdom as the country grapples with the post-Brexit industry.

Belén Garijo, head of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany’s healthcare business recently published in the Financial Times​, that while the company is disappointed in June's vote, it does not intend to reduce its presence in the UK.

In fact, the company has said it plans on increasing its research activates and engaging more closely with universities and healthcare ventures.

A spokesperson from the company told us it employs around 1,417 people in the UK, including 200 in clinical development and commercial services, and nearly 100 in performance materials. Of the remaining employees, the majority are at the company’s Sigma Aldrich facility.

We regret that the majority of British voters have decided in favor of the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU, which also means the loss of access to the free internal market of the EU. However, the decision as to whether a country wishes to remain in the EU or not is up to its citizens and we must accept (respect) it​,” the spokesperson told us.

The consequences of the decision remain to be seen. Nevertheless, we consider the political consequences of the exit to be far more serious that its economic impact. Overall, Europe is no doubt keenly interested in strengthening political cooperation and in the free movement of people, goods and services​.”

As per any consequences in the near term, the spokesperson added that there have been none, though it is not yet clear how the exit will be managed.

It is too early to make a long-term statement on this. What we can say is that remaining in the EU would have certainly made things easier for everyone in the long term​,” the spokesperson said.

GSK and AZ

Several other companies have already made commitments to continuing business in the country.

As previously reported, GSK recently said it was investing £275m ($360m) across three sites​ in England and Scotland. AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said it is too early to know the impact of Brexit on the market, although he believes at resulting changes to the regualtory processes in the UK could be costly for the industry.

Others share​ similar concerns, as there is "extreme worry​" among a number of Indian pharma companies, according to regulatory consultant and former Norwegian Medicines Agency auditor Anders Fuglsang.

However the London-based EMA holds it position​, that while the decision to leave the EU was shocking, business will continue as usual.

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