Leading figures in the pharmaceutical industry have warned that diverging from EU standards could create a "nightmare scenario" for the sector and that the fall in the pound since the Brexit vote has already made it no longer viable to produce certain medicines.
Mike Thompson, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), told the Commons Business Committee that regulatory alignment with the EU is "critical" and failure to agree mutual recognition could lead to a "nightmare scenario."
Peter Ballard, Managing Director of Xiromed, warned that the fall in the pound has already meant it is no longer viable to produce certain medicines in the UK, adding that tariffs and significant regulatory changes would do "significant" damage.
Each month the UK imports 37 million medicine packs from the EU while 45 million packs are exported from Britain to the EU, according to figures form the ABPI.
The stark warning comes as Theresa May negotiates with the DUP over the issue of regulatory alignment to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake commented:
"Theresa May must listen to this clear warning from the pharmaceuticals industry.
"The cost of some medicines is already rising due to the fall in the pound since the referendum. This will only get worse if the government continues to bungle these negotiations and pursue the most extreme form of Brexit.
"British patients should not be made to pay the price for an incompetent Tory Brexit.
"Whether it is farming, the car industry or pharmaceuticals, the best option for all key sectors of our economy is to stay in the single market and customs union."
Elaine Bagshaw, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse said: "Brexit is making us poorer and sicker. Jobs in the pharmaceutical industry risk being lost, and it could be harder to access medicines as the cost to individuals and the NHS increases. Theresa May needs to put a stop to this extreme Brexit and put British people first."