Warning signs that the boom in medicines research in the UK is under threat have been signalled today by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).
The figures highlighted by the ABPI show that total expenditure on research and development of new medicines by the UK-based pharmaceutical industry slid by two per cent in real terms to £3,244 million in 2004 - essential unchanged in cash terms from £3,241 in 2003. This is the second successive year that industry R&D investment in the UK has shown a decline in real terms.
At the same time, capital expenditure in the R&D area of companies' budgets declined from £490 million in 2003 to £424 million in 2004 - a decline of 13.5 per cent. Expenditure in this area has been declining for some years and is now well below its peak of £532 in 2000.
"While these are not massive drops in expenditure, they are nevertheless highly significant," said Dr Richard Barker, Director General of the ABPI. "Instead of steady - sometimes spectacular - growth, we are now looking at a trend of declining investment in real terms.
"In an era in which there is global competition for the industry's research base, this country must not follow the paths of so many other European nations in creating barriers to innovation, whether through over-regulation or through concentration on the price of medicines rather than their value."
UK pharmaceutical R&D is second only to the US in discovering the world's most successful medicines. A quarter of the global top 100 medicines originated in Britain. The pharmaceutical industry in the UK reinvests more than 34 per cent of its turnover in researching new medicines.
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press office: 020 7747 1410