A survey of attitudes among leaders of UK-based pharmaceutical companies shows how important it is that plans to improve Britain’s environment for medicines research are turned into reality.


Research conducted by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and the CBI shows that three-quarters of UK-based companies do not see the UK as an attractive place to do business when viewed in a global context, and policy and regulations are seen as inappropriate for the modern pharmaceutical industry.

But the blueprint of the Office of Life Sciences (OLS) is a sign of change of attitude towards the industry – although the plans that have been announced must be turned into delivery.

Some 43 per cent of companies expect the OLS plans to have an impact even over the comparatively short timespan of a year, according to the survey, which included more than half of the ABPI’s membership – nearly 50 companies.

ABPI President Chris Brinsmead said: “Companies’ attitudes reflect today’s realities, with a significant proportion of the industry believing the OLS will make an impact on the environment in the future. The survey shows a marked increase in confidence over last year’s survey but highlights that there are still major concerns over the UK environment for medicines development, needing plans to improve the situation.

Other key points that emerged from the survey, conducted by research company ComRes, include:

  • The two most important steps the government could take to improve the business and marketing environment are reducing the time it takes for patients to gain access to modern medicines (83 per cent believe it is “very important”) and rewarding innovation (80 per cent).
  • Some 37 per cent of companies are planning to change their business model for discovering and developing medicines – indeed, many have already done this.
  • Almost 40 per cent of companies believe the UK-based industry is well placed to weather the recession.
  • More than three-quarters (78 per cent) of those surveyed are planning to change how they work with the NHS.

Richard Lambert, Director-General of the CBI, said: “The pharmaceutical industry is a real UK success story and will be critical to our recovery from this recession. The industry underpins over 250,000 jobs and drives a quarter of all R&D investment.

“Unfortunately this survey reveals some real concerns about the UK’s regulatory climate, and it is worrying that so many pharma companies do not rate the UK against its international competitors. The industry must get better support in the UK to help it continue to invest and innovate.”

ABPI Director General Dr Richard Barker added: The OLS blueprint, on which many of us have worked hard, is still just that – a blueprint. Construction of the new environment on the basis of that document must now be the priority.”



ComRes surveyed 47 general managers or managing directors of ABPI member companies through an online questionnaire between August 1 and September 9, 2009. Full tables can be found at www.comres.co.uk

For further information, please contact the ABPI press office: 020 7747 1410

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