The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has launched its General Election 2020 Manifesto for Medicine.
The UK pharmaceutical industry body is calling on all parties to ensure that their policies support UK science and research and help maintain the UK’s position as a global leader in medicines and vaccines development into the future.
Pharmaceutical companies in the UK collectively employ 63,000 people and invest £4.3 billion in UK R&D – more than any other sector.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) says the next Government should capitalise on the UK’s world-leading life science industry and improve the health of NHS patients through a number of measures.
Vital relationship with the EU
The ABPI suggests that prioritising patients and health security in the future UK – EU relationship is vital.
The UK’s membership of the EU has shaped and enforced much of the scientific, regulatory and trade infrastructure for the life sciences sector. The ABPI believes the next Government should secure a deal with the EU and future relationship based on cooperation on medicines regulation, trade, access to talent and science and innovation.
Secondly, it recommends building a thriving environment for medicine discovery so the UK can be the best place in the world to research and develop new medicines and vaccines, as well as making the UK the best place in the world for patients to get cutting edge medicines and vaccines.
Mike Thompson, Chief Executive of the ABPI, said: “The next Government will shape one of our country’s most valuable assets: an incredible pharmaceutical industry that employs tens of thousands and invests billions in research.
“We don’t just want NHS patients to get the latest breakthroughs; we want the UK to continue being home to the science that makes them possible, with all the global investment that comes with it.”
The UK pharmaceutical industry believes that apprenticeships have a significant role in meeting the sector’s skills shortages. Besides individual programmes, the industry is also supporting the Apprenticeship Levy – paid by UK employers with pay bills above £3m (~€3.51) to help fund apprenticeship training – however, it notes that the system can be made more effective.
One of the key proposals in the ABPI’s Manifesto is to ring-fence unspent funds from the Levy into a new ‘Life Sciences Skills Fund’.
The UK has skills gaps in areas such as genomics; immunology; bioinformatics and clinical pharmacology. The money in the new ‘Life Sciences Skills Fund’ would be channelled into educating, training and upskilling to meet the needs of these critical priority areas, such as by helping universities and FE colleges establish new academic courses for the skills we need.
Patient access to the latest medicines
The pharmaceutical industry has stated it is committed to helping create an NHS that’s ‘fit for the future’ – which is about embracing cutting edge technology so all patients in the UK have access to world-class standards of care and disease prevention and the latest pharmaceuticals.
In 2019, pharmaceutical companies signed an agreement with the Government which caps medicines spending growth at 2%, with anything over that paid back in rebates to the Department of Health and Social Care.
The manifesto sets out why the UK pharmaceutical industry thinks it is important for the next Government to ensure that the rebate money is used is used to improve the ability of patients to access the latest medicines much faster by funding access and uptake initiatives for new medicines.
Read the manifesto here.