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Comments on UK spending review

UK's ABPI and BIA comment on the government's commitment to healthcare and life sciences following the Comprehensive Spending Review

The UK Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has welcomed the coalition government's commitment to healthcare, science and innovation following the announcement of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) on October 20. The body also applauded the government for recognising the importance of maintaining ring-fenced public funding of £4.6bn annually for science.

Dr Richard Barker, director general of the ABPI said: "Scientific research is critical to securing future economic growth and the UK can harness the rich opportunities offered by medical science for the benefit of patients and society. It will be essential for the forthcoming Growth White Paper to set out a clear strategy for the UK to maintain its comparative advantage in the life sciences."

"The Office for Life Sciences and implementation of the actions agreed in the Life Science Blueprint are also critically important in helping to address the industrial challenges currently facing the UK," Dr Barker said.

Nigel Gaymond, chief executive of the BioIndustry Association (BIA) commented: "A real-terms cut still poses significant challenges, but we acknowledge the commitment of ministers to ensuring a stable scientific research base in the UK. We now need to review the detail to ensure this reflects the needs of the bioscience industry."

"The UK has world-class science and a wealth of exceptional talent. We hope that the protected funding will enable the UK to maintain both its outstanding academic medical research, and those programmes which have a direct impact on the bioscience industry, such as the National Institute of Health Research, the Medical Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board funding.

"The forthcoming Growth White Paper, the consultation on R&D tax credits and the taxation of intellectual property will be critical in determining the government's future course and its impact on industry."

The ABPI also welcomed the continued commitment from the coalition government to increase funding to the NHS for every year of this Parliament and increased spending on health research from the Department of Health.

Dr Barker concluded: "The government's commitment to the Cancer Drugs Fund will mean that more cancer patients will be able to get access to the latest available medicines than before. The UK currently ranks amongst the lowest in Europe in the uptake of innovative medicines, despite having amongst the lowest prices. As the NHS faces the challenge of achieving £20bn annual efficiency savings, innovative new medicines will be an important part of the solution to reduce the long-term burden of disease, and so deliver cost-effective care."

Both the ABPI and BIA said they will continue to work closely with the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA) and Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) to ensure that the Office for Life Sciences delivers the best possible environment to support UK life sciences, and the development of new treatments for patients.

20th October 2010

From: Healthcare

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