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UK pharma apprehensive about post-Brexit investment

ABPI calls for a return of the 'white heat' of innovation to the UK

ABPI

The UK needs to do more to prevent pharmaceutical companies from fleeing and taking their investments elsewhere post-Brexit.

That was the message from Ian McCubbin, SVP for North America, Japan, global supply chain at GlaxoSmithKline and outgoing chair of the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP), a joint ABPI-BIA initiative.

Speaking at the ABPI’s recent annual conference in London McCubbin said: “As the global pharma industry has retracted and consolidated, companies have relocated elsewhere.

“We will end up with a tax rate of around 10-13% due to the combination of the changes in corporate tax rate, the pattern box and R&D tax credits. However, we need to do more in this area for small and medium-sized enterprises as it’s very important that they settle their GMP manufacturing facilities in the UK.

He said the UK is currently around the bottom of the G20 in encouraging this to happen, and added that the government should “level the playing field” when it came to tax, where competition is stiff from the likes of Ireland, Singapore and Switzerland.

“The UK has a fantastic scientific innovation capability, but we’ve been pretty disastrous at converting that into commercial products and economic value to the UK,” he said, adding that the forthcoming Industry Strategy was a huge opportunity to “make the ecosystem work”.

“The life science Industrial Strategy is a one-off opportunity for us get it right [and] build on the capability of the industry that we’ve got and to work with the government… to create the conditions that will pull existing manufacturers to expand in the UK and new companies to come here,” he said.

Currently out to consultation, the draft Industrial Strategy was unveiled in January and promised the UK’s life sciences industry would have a key part to play.

However, with the country’s snap general election just weeks away, the ABPI’s own election manifesto calls on the next government to prioritise “a new industrial strategy that cements the UK’s position as a leading global hub” for the industry.

Another issue that loomed large at the ABPI’s annual conference was Brexit and its implications for the sector of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Virginia Acha, executive director of research, medical and innovation at the ABPI, said that, as “Europeans aren’t accepting job offers” in the UK it is important to “set out goals to attract the right talent, have an effective R&D investment and the right environment to bring the white heat back to the UK”.

She added: “As we leave the EU it is imperative for the UK to set out its stall. This is why the Industrial Strategy has to answer that ask – how do we create the white heat of innovation?”

Article by
Gemma Jones

9th May 2017

From: Sales

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