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ABPI presents its manifesto

The ABPI issues a call for action to politicians, NHS leaders and partners in research and healthcare provision

According to the results of a survey conducted by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), 50 per cent of pharmaceutical companies in the UK expect the environment to worsen over the coming year and three quarters don't see the UK as a globally attractive place to do business. Four-fifths don't think that the UK policy and regulations are fit for purpose and there is a 50-50 split with regard to whether the recently formed Office of Life Sciences will make any difference to the sector it represents.

These findings were revealed at an event to launch the ABPI's manifesto for life sciences - Prescription for Innovation, at Imperial College on September 14. In this document, the ABPI calls for rapid improvements in the R&D environment in order to remain competitive in attracting and retaining investment in the UK and the top-level jobs that go with it. 

Launched with the support of the CBI, Imperial College and patients' organisation National Voices, the manifesto calls for delivery of better patient health by creating incentives for clinical trials and better patient access to medicines through improved NICE processes. It also calls for a review of the tax system and the introduction of a new tax regime to support the generation, retention and exploitation of intellectual property in the UK. 

Real power should be given to the body in charge of ensuring the uptake of innovative medicines so that patients actually receive them, and the official definition of the value of medicines should be changed to align it better with the view of the public, patients and healthcare professionals, the manifesto states.

Commenting at the event, ABPI President, Chris Brinsmead, said Britain should build on its great capability in life sciences, with the NHS, academia and industry working together. "Political leadership is critical to ensuring that the industry continues to improve people's health, gives value to the NHS and provides a return to the taxpayer in terms of its investment in the UK. This manifesto sets out industry's vision of how this is to be achieved," Mr Brinsmead said.

Dr Ade Adeagbo, chief executive of National Voices, noted the significance of the voluntary sector being represented at the high-table alongside academia and industry for the first time at this event. He continued that value and quality were key components of the agenda, but said powerful enough questions were still not being asked about the wellness agenda. "Real partnership with the voluntary sector is based on trust and value and patients must be seen as co-producers of treatments," Adeagbo said.

Richard Lambert, from the CBI, said: "The sector is crucial to the UK's recovery and acts as an indicator of our attractiveness in a globalised marketplace. It must be carefully supported, or research into new medicines will head elsewhere."

Dr Richard Barker, ABPI director general, added: "The manifesto calls for action that will mean better health for patients, greater cost-effectiveness  for the NHS and further boost the industry's contribution to the UK economy. The industry is ready to play a full part in making this vision a reality."

15th September 2009

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