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UK pharmaceutical industry launches General Election manifesto

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has launched its General Election 2020 Manifesto for Medicine.

The 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 ABPI says the next Government should capitalise on the UK’s world-leading life science industry and improve the health of NHS patients by:

1. Prioritising patients and health security in the future UK – EU relationship​

The UK’s membership of the EU has shaped and enforced much of the scientific, regulatory and trade infrastructure for the life sciences sector. We believe 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.

2. 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

We believe the next Government should commit to boosting R&D investment in partnership with industry to reach the target of investing 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027, modernise the R&D tax credit and capital grant structure, create a new Life Sciences Skills Fund and maintain the UK’s status as a world leader in intellectual property. 

3. Making the UK the best place in the world for patients to get cutting edge medicines and vaccines

We believe the next Government should invest in new medicines, aim to increase the number of clinical trials in the UK, tackle antimicrobial resistance, ensure the UK is a world-leader in immunisation and support the development of broader and deeper collaboration between the NHS and the life sciences industries.

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.”

Policy focus: Creating a new Life Sciences Skills Fund to help thousands of students

The pharmaceutical industry believes that apprenticeships have a significant role in meeting the sector’s skills shortages. Besides individual programmes, the industry also supports the Apprenticeship Levy – paid by UK employers with pay bills above £3 million to help fund apprenticeship training.

But we think 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.

Policy focus: Getting patients access to the latest medicines much faster. 

Our industry is committed to helping create an NHS that’s ‘fit for the future’. For us, that’s about embracing cutting edge technology so all patients in the UK have access to world-class standards of care and disease prevention.

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.

Our manifesto sets out why we think it’s 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. 

About the ABPI 

The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK.

Our industry, a major contributor to the economy of the UK, brings life-saving and life-enhancing medicines to patients.  We represent companies who supply more than 80 per cent of all branded medicines used by the NHS and who are researching and developing the majority of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome disease.

Globally our industry is researching and developing more than 7,000 new medicines. 

The ABPI is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.​​