A new poll of MPs and MEPs has revealed the perception of the pharma industry within Brexit negotiations and the impact they believe the UK's exit from the EU will have on patients.

The report, published by Portland, reveals that 51% of MPs and 35% of MEPs believe trade barriers resulting from Brexit could impact the supply of medicines to patients. And although only 14% of MPs and 16% of MEPs believe the pharmaceutical sector takes priority in Brexit negotiations, early half of all MPs (49%) and 56% of MEPs believe that patients should be given greater priority in the negotiations.

Most MPs and half of MEPs would like to have a greater understanding of what the pharmaceutical industry needs from Brexit.

The polling also revealed that that 49% of MPs want to engage with pharma companies (compared to 26% of MEPs), but there is a divide between what Conservative and Labour MPs think Brexit will really mean for pharma.

59% of Conservative MPs agree that the industry behaves in an ethical and responsible manner, but just a quarter of Labour MPs say the same. In total, 43% of MPs trust pharma compared to 23% of MEPs.

However, only 2% of Conservative MPs believe that the industry would face negative consequences because of Brexit, compared to 74% of Labour MPs.

"This is not at all surprising, reflecting the pro-/anti-Brexit balance within both parties," the report says. "But it does raise a paradox for pharma companies, namely that the industry’s concerns are currently more aligned with the beliefs of an MP cohort that does not necessarily trust them."

The MP polling was conducted through YouGov and was completed in two phases. The first phase was run between the 16th to 28th January 2018 amongst 100 MPs, including 39 from the Conservative Party, and 53 from the Labour Party. The second phase took place from 12th to 28th June 2018, and was completed by 100 MPs, including 36 from the Conservative Party and 52 from the Labour Party. The MEP polling was commissioned through ComRes and was run from 13th March to 25th May 2018. A total of 76 MEPs took part in the survey.