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George Freeman re-appointed as UK life science minister

Industry welcomes his continuation in this pharma-focused role

George Freeman MP 

George Freeman will remain as the life sciences minister after being re-appointed this week by the British Prime Minister David Cameron.

It comes after the UK General Election, which saw the Conservative Party win a slim majority in the country.

Conservative MP Freeman (pictured) was first appointed as the Parliamentary under-secretary of state for life sciences last year under the former coalition government. It was the first time such a position had existed under any government, and was welcomed by the industry.

Freeman will now continue his review into England's health technology assessor NICE, as well as a deeper assessment of the broader issues around market access in the UK, which began last year.

He will also continue spear-heading the Accelerated Access Review, which is speeding up the regulatory pathway for new and highly innovative medicines in the UK.

His remaining in the role allows a sense of continuation for pharma and knowledge that this position will exist for at least the next five years - the life of the new Parliament.

Freeman was elected to Parliament in 2010 after a 15-year career across the life sciences sector, in particular working with hospitals, clinical researchers, patient groups and biomedical research companies to pioneer novel healthcare innovations.

He said on his official Twitter site that he was “delighted” with his re-appointment.

Audrey Yvernault, the ABPI's director of government and external affairs, told PMLiVE of his re-appointment: “The ABPI welcomes the reappointment of George Freeman MP as Parliamentary under-secretary of state for life sciences. We look forward to continuing to work with him to build a thriving UK life sciences industry for the benefit of patients and the UK economy.

“In particular we look forward to the continuing work of the Accelerated Access Review which the minister is spearheading following his decision to establish the Review last November.

“The Review presents a unique opportunity to accelerate widespread access to innovative medicines for the right patient, at the right time, supporting the NHS to improve patient outcomes and experience."

Health secretary remains

Jeremy Hunt has also kept his role as the health secretary - a position he has held since 2012 after taking over from Andrew Lansley.

When the Conservative-led government took power in the previous Parliament in May 2010, it was quick to announce a total re-organisation of the NHS, and an attempt to re-draw drug pricing in the UK.

There appears to be no such plans in place this time around, with an evolved PPRS pricing scheme in place until 2018 and the structure of the NHS set to remain set under the formation created by the Health and Social Care Act (2012).

But the Conservatives have promised to fill the major funding gap in the NHS, pledging to add £8bn to the health service to keep up with demand.

 
 

Article by
Ben Adams

13th May 2015

From: Healthcare

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