• Communications

    Posted in category News Release by Communications on 05/12/2011

    News release – Reforms will help NHS patients benefit from best new medicines and boost economy

The Government’s plans to encourage investment and growth in the Life Sciences sector was today welcomed by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), with Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive, saying patients, the NHS, industry and the UK economy will all benefit.


The Prime Minister, David Cameron, outlined his vision this afternoon (5 December 2011) in the Life Sciences Strategy, as part of the Autumn Package, in a speech to key figures from the pharmaceutical industry.

As part of this, the NHS Chief Executive Review of Innovation was also published today. The recommendations within the report, if adopted, will mean much of the red tape and bureaucracy within the NHS which prevents patients receiving the very best of treatments, will be removed.  Not only will patient health improve as a result, but removing the barriers to innovation will aid the long-term growth of the Life Sciences sector and the UK economy.

The specific points which the ABPI welcomed are:

  • The automatic inclusion of NICE recommended treatments on formulary, meaning that clinicians now truly have the choice to prescribe the medicine that they think most appropriate for their patients.
  • The establishment of a NICE Implementation Collaborative (NIC) to support prompt implementation of NICE guidance, bringing all partners into the process of helping with barriers to patients accessing medicines.
  • Development and publication of an innovation scorecard allowing a clear understanding of whether the reforms to NICE are really working, and which examines if patients are getting the best new medicines.
  • An emphasis on clinical trials, aiming to re-establish the UK as a thriving centre for research and exploiting the benefits of this for patients.
  • Better access to health data, with appropriate protection for patient confidentiality.  This opens up the UK’s unique offering to provide a true picture of health challenges and benefits within the NHS. 
  • The commitment by Government to earlier access to medicines where appropriate, allows patients to benefit earlier from promising medicines whilst improving what we know about how these medicines work.
  • Plans to simplify regulation, reducing gold plating and unnecessary bureaucracy will help industry move further and faster, and make the UK a more attractive place for investment. The initiative of a group of experts including industry to meet regularly to discuss regulation is welcomed.

Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the ABPI, said:

“The Prime Minister has identified the Life Sciences sector as an integral part of the UK economy and one which can continue to thrive and prosper if supported in the right way.  The proposals outlined by Government will contribute towards patients receiving better treatments, more quickly and build the UK's attractiveness as a leading hub for medical and health research. 

“Specifically, we welcome the introduction of a NICE compliance regime to reduce variation of medicines uptake, increase compliance with NICE technology appraisals, and ensure rapid and consistent implementation throughout the NHS.  The confirmation that NICE technology appraisal recommendations will be automatically included into appropriate local formularies is a significant step forward.  Moreover establishment of the NICE Implementation Collaborative is a helpful move which will provide practical support and advice to the NHS to implement NICE guidance promptly.

“We are also pleased that Government will be opening up access to public datasets including health data on prescribing, with appropriate protection for patient confidentiality.  This will allow Life Science firms to better understand how patients respond to particular treatments, which in turn will further aid companies’ research and development efforts.”


Media enquiries

ABPI Press Office
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7747 1410 or +44 (0) 20 7747 1441
Mobile: +44 (0) 7808 641810 or +44 (0) 7850 312064 
Email: pressoffice@abpi.org.uk   

Notes to Editors

We represent innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, both large and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK. 

Our industry, a major contributor to the economy of the UK, brings life-saving and life-enhancing medicines to patients. Our members supply 90 per cent of all medicines used by the NHS, and are researching and developing 90 per cent of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome diseases. 

We are the Government recognised body negotiating the pricing of branded medicines on behalf of the entire industry. Working with our Research Affiliate Members, we promote the UK as a destination of choice for international life sciences investment.

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