Ahead of Wednesday's Spring Budget, ABPI Chief Executive, Mike Thompson, has outlined three key asks that the pharmaceutical industry has put to the Treasury.
A lot has happened since Philip Hammond give his last financial statement to the House of Commons in November last year. The Prime Minister has set out her Brexit priorities, the Business Secretary has set out proposals for a 'modern industrial strategy' and MPs have voted on the Bill which formally gives Government the power to trigger Article 50.
As the Chancellor delivers his first Budget statement, his focus will be to deliver certainty for business and the economy. The pharmaceutical industry will be looking for the Chancellor to provide this certainty and for more details on how the Government will support the industry to thrive and grow in the UK.
Here are three things we will be looking out for.
1. Make the UK the best place in the world to research, develop and launch new medicines
The NHS can be a unique selling point for the UK to attract more global investment from the pharmaceutical industry. By becoming a world leader in using health data, the NHS can partner with industry to create the best possible environment to develop new medicines. The recent Memorandum of Understanding signed by the pharmaceutical industry and Greater Manchester shows that the ambition for partnership is there. The Chancellor can help unlock this potential by piloting improved integration of patient, drug and disease records, in targeted locations. This would help demonstrate the NHS's data capabilities.
Alongside investment in broader health data infrastructure and training, this gives the Chancellor the opportunity to deliver on the Government's promise to focus on 'place' in the industrial strategy and lay the ground work for making 'the UK the best place for science and innovation' – one of the Prime Minister's 12 Brexit priorities.
It's also an opportunity to deliver on the Government's 'social justice' agenda, by addressing the fact that UK patients have limited access to new medicines that improve and save lives. On average, for every 100 European patients who can access new medicines in the first year they are available, just 15 UK patients have the same opportunity. In looking to deliver the Conservative Party's 2015 manifesto commitment to improve access to new medicines, the Chancellor should fully enact the Accelerated Access Review (AAR), with the right level of investment, to make a real difference.
2. Infrastructure investment for the medicines of the future
In November's Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced that spending on R&D will grow by an additional £2bn per year by 2020/21. The ABPI warmly welcomed this investment, something that was contained in our then submission to the Chancellor.
We will now be looking for the Chancellor to announce further details about how this investment will be spent by the newly created Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, administered by UKRI
There is a particular opportunity for this money to be used to support advanced medicines manufacturing in the UK. To do this, the Chancellor can look to the Advanced Therapy Manufacturing Taskforce (ATMT), on which the ABPI has worked with industry. By investing in a new Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, a network of Cell and Gene Therapy Treatment Centres and in making sure we have the right skills, the Chancellor can cement the UK's competitiveness in this area.
3. Support through changes to R&D tax credits
The Chancellor can also be expected to announce the results of his review of the tax environment for R&D. Again announced in the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor's Treasury colleague David Gauke confirmed that the review was 'due to conclude at the Spring Budget' and would focus on ensuring that the UK is the most attractive place in Europe to do private R&D work.
R&D tax credits are crucial to attract investment from the pharmaceutical industry. Reforms can make a real difference, in particular in making sure the system works for attracting investment in advanced manufacturing projects.
The Government has said it will take a new approach of 'stepping up' to support business through a 'proper industrial strategy'. With a new 'life sciences industrial strategy' and 'sector deal' on the horizon, the Chancellor's Budget provides a real opportunity to show what this means for the pharmaceutical industry.