The announcement of the Government's increased commitment to science and innovation today has received strong support from the country's most innovative and research-based industry -pharmaceuticals.
The Chancellor has promised to protect the large funding increases for science announced in the last Spending Review and pledged increased investment in future years. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) is delighted by this commitment to make Britain a world-class centre for science, technology and innovation.
"The UK-based pharmaceutical industry funds one-third of the UK's industrial research and development and has a proud tradition of innovation that has made a major contribution to the country's health - through new medicines - and to its wealth - through its tremendous export success," said Dr Trevor Jones, Director General of the ABPI.
"We very much welcome the support of the Chancellor in maintaining and increasing this vital endeavour and look forward to co-operating with the proposed consultation."
The Chancellor's announcement follows hard on the heels of an ABPI poll published this week that shows overwhelming support for the Government to take more steps to support medicines research, and for it to encourage pharmaceutical companies to invest in the UK.
More than three quarters of people in the UK (78 per cent) think that research and development of innovative medicines is a top priority for investment.
"Clearly the public will be as delighted as we are to see the Government supporting innovation. Every day the pharmaceutical industry invests nearly £9 million in research and development with the result that the UK is second only to the USA for discovering and developing new medicines. The public depend on us to develop new and innovative medicines to treat the diseases that worry them most," said Dr Jones.
The ABPI survey showed that the public would most like to see a cure found for cancer (62 per cent), highlighting the importance of continued scientific research.
The good news for Britain is the pharmaceutical industry has already targeted cancer as one of its prime areas for scientific research, with an estimated 500 new medicines in various stages of clinical trial.
Surprisingly, more than a third (36 per cent) of the public believe that Britain has a poor record for discovering and developing new medicines to fight diseases when, in fact, a quarter of the world's top 100 medicines originated here, including treatments for cancer, diabetes and asthma.
The survey also showed that nearly three-quarters of people believe that the NHS spends far more on innovative medicines than the 12 per cent of its budget it actually does. Only 14 per cent of those taking part estimated that the NHS invested less than 15 per cent in medicines - and 13 per cent believed that it took up more than half the NHS budget.
"People are surprised to discover that all the benefits they have come to associate with modern medicines are achieved at such relatively low cost to the NHS," said Dr Jones. "But the message is clear that the public want medicines to be a top priority for scientific research in Britain."
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410