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ABPI: UK lags behind Europe for innovation

The UK's NHS lags behind the rest of Europe in terms of access to new treatments said Stephen Whitehead in his first public talk as the organisation's chief executive

Stephen Whitehead at the ABPI real world data White Paper launch
Stephen Whitehead
chief executive of the ABPI

The UK's NHS lags behind the rest of Europe in terms of access to new treatments said Stephen Whitehead in his first public talk as the organisation's chief executive.

Claiming "without innovation, the industry dies", Whitehead called on the support of the government to improve uptake of new drugs and support innovative research, ensuring the £4.5bn invested in pharmaceutical R&D in the UK each year continued to benefit both the country's economy and its patients.

He said that the NHS needs to become a "hot bed for innovation" commenting that there wouldn't be a survivable UK health service now without the developments made by the pharmaceutical industry.

Whitehead, who was marking his 100th day in the role, made the comments in a speech launching the ABPI's White Paper on the use of real world data to evaluate the performance of medicines.

The trade organisation's new leader said the ABPI must form a "seamless relationship" with the NHS to improve medical research and reduce healthcare costs.

This relationship with NHS was especially important with regards to measuring the effectiveness of a medicine, according to Whitehead, with the ABPI's report The Vision for Real World Data – Harnessing the Opportunities in the UK intended to describe how data collected outside the controlled constraints of conventional randomised clinical trials can be used to demonstrate the value of medicinal products.

The benefits of doing this research would mean better management of chronic conditions and avoidances of preventable hospitalisations, according to Whitehead.

He said: "It will provide us with the opportunity to improve patient quality of life while reducing NHS costs."

Representing government at the event was Dame Sally Davies, director general of research and development and chief scientific adviser for the UK Department of Health and NHS, who echoed Whitehead's sentiments on the need for real world data and increased collaboration.

Davies commented on the UK coalition's government Health and Social Care Bill, which recently passed its third reading in the House of Commons, saying that it was a "strong bill", making research, and the use of research evidence, a duty in the way healthcare is conducted in the UK.

She also highlighted the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as an increasingly important organisation to develop the government's relationship with the industry and stimulate economic growth through translational research.

The ABPI has the White Paper on real world data available for download.

8th September 2011

From: Healthcare

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