UK parties must provide proposals for how government supports life sciences

New UK law states that the government must take economic consequences for the life sciences industry into account when introducing cost-containment measures for new medicines

The UK Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London

A new report published by the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) argues that, without lasting political commitment, the momentum of the UK’s life sciences industry will be lost.

The report finds that despite the efforts of successive governments to support the UK life science sector and encourage uptake of innovation, policies have not been fully implemented or led to lasting change.

Called “Now More Than Ever: Seizing the opportunity to make the UK a world leader in the life sciences”, the report calls on political parties to turn warm words into practical solutions to strengthen UK life sciences.

In particular, parties should think creatively about how to harness the unique strengths of the NHS, as a single integrated system, to bolster UK life sciences in the face of global competition for investment.

This week in Parliament

As part of parliamentary wash-up both Houses of Parliament have this week adopted a Government amendment to the Health Service Medical Supplies (Cost) Bill.

The amendment will require future governments to consult on the “economic consequences for the life sciences industry” and effect on patients when introducing cost-containment measures for new medicines.

The UK general election

In the lead up to the election (June), the parties can include a commitment to implement the recommendations of the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) in their forthcoming manifestos.

Ensuring both Ministers and the NHS are bought into the vision of any forthcoming life science strategy is essential if the next Government can deliver the long-term reform that its predecessors have promised, say BIA.

Key recommendations from the report

— The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy needs to exercise greater influence on all aspects of life science policy, alongside the Department of Health.

— NHS England needs to prioritise its responsibilities to support the sector and improve uptake of innovation.

— Reforms to assessment and reimbursement of medicines, alongside a central fund dedicated to accelerate access to the most effective treatments, would make sure the UK remained an attractive destination for global life sciences.

Steve Bates, CEO, said: “Throughout three years of policy work, through three administrations have gone into the development of Accelerated Access policy proposals. 2017 is the time for action.”

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