An analysis of the potential impact of Brexit on the Irish life science industry

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Cujabante, Carolina
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MBA in Finance
Dublin Business School
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The Irish life Science sector plays a significant role in the Irish Economy, positioning the country as the largest exporter of Life Science products into the European Union. The geographic position and strong relationship between Ireland and the UK have played an eminent role in Ireland’s success. As such, any disruption in the relationship between the two countries will cause economic, political, and social effects. As of the 29th of June 2016, the UK presented a formal decision to leave the European Union, in what was known as “Brexit”. This study aims to find out how the Irish Life Science Industry will deal with this, looking at what major issues are facing the sector in this uncertain environment of change. Although there has been some research done in the area, existing literature showed a lack of research into the Irish Life Science sector itself, in relation to this potential change. Thus, this study will fill such gaps. The aims of this dissertation were met by an extensive analysis of relevant literature and through the implementation of a qualitative methodology (interviews). The research is based on data collected from major Irish entities in the Irish Life Science industry: Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), Irish Pharmaceutical Association (IPHA), and the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), with collaboration from two pharmaceutical companies. Data collection was carried out through semi-structured interviews. The key findings of this research are that Irish Life Science industries see Brexit as a reality and are preparing for the worst-case scenario, with labelling, regulatory, and physical changes being the main issues affecting the industry. The key conclusion drawn from this research was that Brexit would not heavily affect the Irish Life Science sector, but that a social impact, due to a shortage of medicines, was to be expected. Due to the unstable and uncertain nature of Brexit, this researcher recommends further studies be conducted after the agreement between the UK and the European Union goes though in order to achieve more concrete conclusions.