Note from the editor: there are some great, informative tweets out there that need to go way beyond the twittersphere. Here is one such. Please share widely. We’ve had enough of the lies. Time for truth.
I’ll give you one example of how devastating #NoDeal will be. AstraZeneca is a British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant. It accounts for a full 1% of the UK’s export GDP. Just AstraZeneca. On its own. (For reference, our *entire* fishing export GDP is a mere fraction of that.)
AstraZeneca has a huge plant in Macclesfield, a town to the south of Manchester. As of March last year, the site employed a total of around 3,500 people in a variety of operations including IT & science as well as the manufacturing arm, which accounts for around 900 workers.
Since March last year, the site has been shedding jobs like crazy. Why? Well, it might be because every batch of human medicine that is sold to the EU needs to be tested in the EU. We could do a deal to allow testing in the UK to continue, maybe under EU supervision.
But we’re not doing that. The Prime Minister, a second-rate tabloid columnist with a shoddy degree in a joke subject from an “elite” university that values wealth over ability, seems inclined to throw AstraZeneca (and all that work for AstraZeneca) to the wolves.
When you think of testing medicine, maybe you think of somebody in a white coat dropping liquid out of a pipette onto a pill, the liquid turns blue and then, like the Man From Del Monte, the batch of medicine is given the thumbs-up. Helicopters fly overhead. Hurrah!
The reality is very different. Testing medicine is an exceptionally precise science. It has to be. One molecule out of place could mean the difference between life and death. We’re talking…
…physical testing (e.g., viscosity, specific gravity and particle size), chemical testing (e.g., drug assay, level of impurities and preservative assay), microbiological testing and dimensional testing (e.g., measurement of container physical features).
For this, precision-engineered specialist equipment is required. For a complex drug such as Zoladex (taken by people undergoing treatment for prostate cancer), batch testing can end up costing more than the manufacturing process in the first place.
So what’s AstraZeneca to do? The UK has said that in the event of No Deal, they’ll still accept EU-tested medicine. They have to, or else people will die. But the EU won’t be in any mood to accept UK-tested medicine, shielded from oversight by the UK’s “Gammon Curtain” .
If AstraZeneca continue batch testing in Macclesfield, they can only sell direct to 66m potential customers. If they move their batch testing to, say, The Netherlands, they can sell direct to over 500m potential customers.
But if you’re going to go through the time & vast expense of setting up a new testing facility in Holland, & testing can cost more than manufacture, & there’s a good chance that your imported ingredients & finished exports are going to get held up at the border…
…WHY on Earth would they stay in Macclesfield? 🤷♂️
Answers on a postcard to the usual address, please.