The Labour Party launched their 2017 General Election Manifesto on Tuesday 16 May in Bradford. 'For The Many, Not The Few' is the Party's vision for a Labour Government under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
"The pharmaceutical industry welcomes The Labour Party's commitment to ensuring patients get fast access to new medicines through a NHS boosted by increased levels of funding.
"However, as Britain negotiates its departure from the EU, the UK must convince the rest of the world that Britain is open for business. With that in mind, the pharmaceutical industry is concerned that Labour's headline pledges on taxation – such as increasing Corporation Tax – may have unintended consequences that could undermine the UK's global competitiveness."
As part of a strategy to make patient outcomes in NHS the best in the world, the ABPI believes that UK spending on health care should increase to reach the G7 average by the end of the next Parliament. Labour's pledge to increase NHS spending by £7.4bn a year would be an important step towards this ambition, and whilst we welcome this significant investment, we urge caution in the Party's suggested model for funding this increase.
We also welcome Labour's important commitment to ensuring NHS patients get fast access to new medicines. New medicines are crucial to providing world-class care, yet right now, for every 100 patients in comparable countries who have access to a new medicine in its first year of launch, just 18 patients in the UK receive the same.
The Manifesto also confirms that a Labour Government would seek to reach agreements with pharmaceutical companies to ensure value for money and faster access to medicines for patients. The ABPI continues to welcome such an approach, which should balance value for money, patient access to new medicines and rewarding innovation from companies.
The current Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), agreed between Government and industry, caps 80% of the NHS new medicines bill so that it does not grow by more than an average of 1.1% until the end of 2018. Any expenditure over the cap is refunded by PPRS member companies, who between them have paid back £1.7bn since 2014.
At a time when the UK needs to encourage global companies to invest and grow their business, the ABPI is concerned that Labour's proposals to increase Corporation Tax while also levying higher taxes on highly skilled workers and their businesses, would have unintended consequences for the UK's global competitiveness.
However, the party's commitment to increasing R&D investment to 3% of GDP is welcome, and together with a joined-up Industrial Strategy would help the UK maintain its status as a world-leader in research based pharmaceuticals.
The ABPI welcomes The Labour Party's intent to negotiate an ongoing cooperative relationship between the UK and the European Medicines Agency. Achieving alignment to continue proportionate, robust and effective medicines regulation is important for patients and public health in the UK and the EU.
We also welcome the ambition for UK scientists to continue to collaborate on cross EU scientific research projects, as well as seeking continued participation in Horizon 2020.