PATIENTS in Europe will miss out on receiving vital medication if there is a “no-deal” Brexit, according to drug giant AstraZeneca.

The firm, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, warned it would not be able to guarantee the supply of its products to treat cancer, heart and lung problems to the Continent after March next year.

That is because without a deal on regulation the drugs would have to be evaluated twice to ensure they are allowed to cross from the UK into the EU.

The comments put pressure on Brussels to make sure Britain is offered an agreement, and comes after weeks of wrangles over preparing for a no deal outcome.

Ad Antonisse, AstraZeneca’s director of market access and external affairs, said it was carrying out tests in both the UK and EU as it prepares for "the strongest Brexit scenario".

He told the Brexit-loket site: "If we do not prepare well for Brexit, patients in the EU may no longer be able to receive their medicines.

“Just because production happens to happen in the United Kingdom. Science is simply an international playing field."

The Anglo-Swedish firm focuses on developing treatments for cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and respiratory issues.

Mr Antonisse said: "These are serious diseases and you do not want Brexit to have a problem with delivery to the patient.”

Last month, the new Health and Social Care Secretary said officials were considering working with industry to stockpile drugs, medical devices and supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Matt Hancock said that he was "confident" a deal could be reached but said that it was "responsible" to prepare for a range of outcomes.

He said: "We are working right across Government to ensure that the health sector and the industry are prepared and that people's health will be safeguarded in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

"This includes the chain of medical supplies, vaccines, medical devices, clinical consumables, blood products.

"And I have asked the department to work up options for stockpiling by industry. We are working with industry for the potential need for stockpiling in the event of a no-deal Brexit."