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Public confidence in ABPI

Over two-thirds of the public are confident in the level of skills and knowledge being invested into pharmaceutical research in the UK according to details from a poll, conducted by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, which questioned members of the public about medicines research
Over two-thirds of the public are confident in the level of skills and knowledge being invested into pharmaceutical research in the UK according to details from a poll, conducted by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), which questioned members of the public about medicines research.

However, one-third of people have said they did not believe that enough money is available for medicines research and that they want clearer information on the progress of UK R&D.

Dr Richard Barker, director general of the ABPI, said: "There is a clear role for the industry to work in partnership with the government to ensure greater public understanding of developments in both prevention and treatment of the major health priorities facing all of us in the UK."

Of all the biomedical research carried out in the UK, over 60 per cent of it is conducted by the pharmaceutical industry as oppose to government or academic bodies.

UK pharma spends close to £4bn per year on medicines R&D and the illnesses with the greatest number of pipeline treatments include cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and arthritis.

Based on the findings of the survey, the ABPI has suggested that a US-style state of the union address be made annually to better inform the public on matters concerning drug R&D.

"ABPI would like to work with government and other key stakeholders to provide an annual 'state of the nation' report and inform the public better about all clinical research - public and private - that is taking place," said Barker.

According to the ABPI, the survey showed that the 72 per cent of the pubic listed cancer as the top UK R&D priority with 33 per cent listing heart disease. Alzheimer's disease is considered by the public to be the third most important research priority for the UK. Information provided by the ABPI showed that there are currently 258 different Alzheimer's medications being investigated across the world.

"The survey that we've conducted shows that people want both the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry to make this condition a priority," said Barker.

"It is positive news for patients that there is such alignment between public desire, government action, academic research priorities and industry investment into these major illnesses," he added.

Scientists involved in the UK drug research are currently in the process of developing of 33 medicines for heart disease and 312 treatments for various types of cancer.

31st March 2008

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