A Brexit and regulator thread - but it’ll take a bit. Stay with me (thread)
Consider regulators in the EU and the US for starters. You can do this with food or with drugs. /2
Rarely have I met an EU citizen who travels in the US and worries about food safety there or the other way around. And the same applies to drugs. /3
And yet, the two sides find it hard to agree to one regulatory model. In fact, they disagree viciously. And very emotionally. With each side naturally believing their model is better. /4
This oversimplifies a bit, of course, but generally I would claim that intuitively that seems to be how people feel. /5
There has not been a lot of experience with what happens if your regulator suddenly is no longer "yours". Brexit is such a case. /6
The experience of the last weeks is quite interesting when you compare reactions to decisions of EMA (EU), PEI & StiKo (GER), NACI (Canada), FDA (USA) and MHRA (UK). And take into account that most of these were widely unknown before. /7
To some extent it illustrates how difficult it is to simplify trade when regulators are involved - even if in the abstract we think a country is well-regulated, concretely we can get quite involved in favoring the decisions of "our" regulator. /8

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More from @hhesterm

3 Apr
Complex research in the western world is - more often than not - a collaborative effort also when it comes to financing. To pretend this is not the case puts research at risk. Here are the funders of the Jenner Institute, the Oxford vaccine innovaters.
Not every funder is involved in every project. CEPI, though, was a major funder of Oxford/AZ Covid work.
Read 4 tweets
2 Apr
I have had enough of the debate about vaccines turning into nationalist fighting. So some comments about where to go from here (thread)
Of course, the chart would be read in the context of the AZ wars. Its importance in this regard is somewhat limited, though. /2
You can still have a debate on how to read the various contracts etc. The one line that is problematic is that any one country deserve a first shot at the vaccine because it invested more. The truth is: collaboration.
Read 7 tweets
28 Mar
Always astonished by human capacity for mental exaggeration. Just take a look at the journey of public opinion on the UK. Starting point "a very competent country". (thread)
During the Brexit campaign, politics became disconnected from the civil service and some... let's say extraordinary things were said and done. At first people thought there must be a secret plan - precisely because of the amount of respect for competency.
But there was no secret plan. Suddenly people started to think "are we fundamentally incompetent? What is wrong with us?".
Read 8 tweets
27 Mar
Allow me to tell you a short story of pharma patents in world trade. The story start in the old days of GATT. Where patents were decidedly not part of world trade law (thread)
In those old days, it was a decision of each country whether to grant patents or not. Each country had to think "will this be a good choice for us? an incentive for research? Or actually counterproductive exclusivity?"
But in some developing countries this was perceived as unfair. In the US some thought "we pay higher prices for innovation. You just get it for free". Pharma patents were central to the debate.
Read 13 tweets
26 Mar
There’s a lot of muddled thinking on what the problem with export bans is. So... in the form of a Q&A, a quick overview (thread)
1) Is it the rule of law?
Two components to this, arguably. Is there a problem because it interferes with private contracts? Not really. Most regulatory power does. Take Brexit: it interferes with thousands of contracts. Or the UK ban on parallel exports of some medicines. What about international law?
Read 7 tweets
22 Mar
A note on timing of contracts: The first sentence here is wrong. So those who tweeted at me that the EU signed first so it wins or that the UK signed first so it wins (yup, got both of those): both wrong. Interested why?
Suppose A signs a contract with B. Two days later it signed a contract with C. Both contracts are for delivering 100 widges. Result? A has to deliver 100 widges to B AND to C. It is obliged to deliver both according to the terms of the agreement.
Problems only arise if A cannot deliver on both contracts. What then? Well, A still owes the 100 widges to both parties. If there’s no term in the contract giving preference to one or the other or modifying the obligation - A will have to break at least one contract.
Read 4 tweets

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