Female scientist looking into a microscope in a lab

ABPI: Life sciences offer a route back for the economy

Life sciences could provide a route to future economic growth, helping deliver jobs, fiscal reward and position the UK as a global leader in science and technology. That’s according to the Chief Executive of the ABPI, Richard Torbett, as he responds to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s newly-unveiled Spending Review.

Within his announcement, the Chancellor unveiled £14.6bn in funding for cutting-edge research and development.

Mr Torbett said: “As the government focuses on its growth agenda, it should look to life sciences and make the most of this funding to unlock the future potential of our sector.

“Policies that encourage investment into cutting-edge research – such as delivering on the vision for UK health data – will deliver a triple win: for jobs, for the economy, and for the UK’s world-beating life sciences sector.”

As we begin to move into the next phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ABPI Chief Executive also stressed the importance of the UK Government outlining plans for the future success of the life sciences sector, both to aid economic recovery as well as bolster the UK’s resilience against future health threats.

Those plans, he explained, should include:

  • Capital grants for medicines manufacturing – up-front capital incentives to attract investment in strategically important projects, as are currently offered by many of the UK’s leading competitors.
  • Enhanced R&D tax credits – to catalyse growth across all innovative industries and allow the pharmaceutical industry to invest in cutting-edge research including health data.
  • Investment in preventative healthcare – ensuring the NHS’ long term goals for prevention are met through a fully funded vaccine programme and partnerships with the life science sector.
  • Modernised NICE’s appraisal methods – so that the full value of a medicine’s impact on patients, carers, the NHS, and society is reflected would make a significant improvement to the ability for patients with rare diseases to access the latest medicines.

He also called for concerted efforts to be made across the health sector that “where treatment has been delayed or disrupted, we work together to get it back on track”.

As part of this, pharmaceutical companies would need to continue working around the clock to support their health sector counterparts, including around how to safely restart clinical trials and research affected by the delays.

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