Policy: UK/EU Future Economic Partnership

Published on: 2 March 2020


PAGB’s overarching position has always been that when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union there should be no fewer over-the-counter/self care products available in the UK and those products should be no less safe than they are today.

Our aim is to secure effective proportionate regulation for over-the-counter medicines, self care medical devices and food supplements after the UK leaves the EU


PAGB has been providing regular and in-depth support to its members throughout the period known as Brexit, to help them navigate the unpredictable and ever-changing regulatory and political landscape. We have maintained close and regular contact with regulators and policymakers to ensure that the voice of the consumer healthcare industry is heard loud and clear and to help our members prepare for the impact of a potential no deal EU Exit.

In our latest member survey (December 2019) 86 per cent of PAGB member companies said they satisfied or very satisfied with PAGB’s influence on EU Exit and

87 per cent of members felt well or extremely well informed about PAGB’s activity on EU Exit


Now that the Withdrawal Agreement has been signed, and negotiations have opened into the future relationship between the UK and the EU, PAGB’s EU Exit activity is focused on the what comes after the UK has left the EU.

Our position remains firmly that in the period after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the subsequent transition period to the end of 2020, there should be no fewer consumer healthcare products available in the UK and those products should be no less safe.

PAGB priorities for a future EU/UK trade deal:

In addition, PAGB sees theoretical opportunities arising from divergence from the EU on some aspects of medical device and food supplements regulation and is currently exploring these opportunities in its working groups.

Future UK/EU exit trade and consumer healthcare

Over-the-counter (OTC) and self care products are medicines, medical devices and food supplements that can be bought from a pharmacy or other retail outlet without a prescription. PAGB members make well known and trusted products that people in the UK use every day to maintain good health and treat self-treatable conditions. The UK market for OTC and self care products is worth £2.73bn a year (Nielsen Scantrack, data to WE 28.12.19).

Over-the-counter medicines, self care medical devices and food supplements are rightly highly regulated products. This is imperative to protect public health. Regulation of these products in the UK must continue to be sensible, effective and proportionate, without becoming overly burdensome.

PAGB and its member companies are committed to working with Government departments and agencies, including MHRA, to ensure negotiations over the terms of the UK’s future trading relationships take the needs and priorities of the consumer healthcare industry into account.

woman browsing OTC Products
PAGB priorities for UK-EU future economic partnership

OTC industry informationMember-only resources on EU Exit and future trade can be found here, including our EU Exit blog (log-in required, for PAGB members and associate members only)