Patients in the European Union may not be able to receive medicines from the UK post-Brexit if AstraZeneca does not “prepare well” for a no-deal scenario, the company said.

The pharmaceutical giant has its research headquarters in Cambridge and manufactures medicines for treating cancer, heart and lung problems.

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

Mr Antonisse, told the Dutch government 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.

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

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” that a deal could be reached but said that it was “responsible” to prepare for a range of outcomes.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt HancockHealth and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has said officials are considering working with industry to stockpile drugs in the event of a no-deal Brexit (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

This includes working up options with industry to stockpile medical supplies if a deal cannot be reached, Mr Hancock told the Health Select Committee on July 24.

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.”