• Press Office

    Posted in category News Release by Press Office on 06/06/2012

    'I fear for the future of UK medical research,' says head of the UK pharmaceutical industry

The Government is too focused on encouraging ‘breakthrough drugs’ at the expense of significant gains for patients from incremental innovation in medicines, warned Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the ABPI.


Stephen Whitehead warned that this approach threatens the future of pharmaceutical medical research in the UK.

The intervention comes shortly before the next round of medicine pricing negotiations, and is the most outspoken assessment of the risks facing the industry Whitehead has made since he started as Chief Executive of the ABPI one year ago.

Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the ABPI, comments:

“The pricing negotiations will decide the future of pharmaceutical research in the UK. If we minimise the reward for innovation in the UK, then our manufacturers will go abroad. Our industry, our economy, and our healthcare system will suffer – UK patients will suffer.

“The Government wants to target resources at big breakthroughs, but the science shows us that developments in medicine are made in small steps.

“We have to make sure that we recognise and reward the investment that goes into creating innovative new medicines. Manufacturers take a £1bn gamble when they decide to create a medicine in the UK, and they won’t take that plunge if there is no reward for success. The UK is a global leader in medical research and development, but we have to do all we can to prolong and build on this success; we have to ensure that the huge risks discoverers and developers take are rewarded.”

To highlight the different types of medical innovation, the ABPI recently commissioned a report called The many faces of innovation. The report, which is published on the day of Whitehead’s one year anniversary as Chief Executive, examines the different types of innovation, and the importance of iterative medical developments.  

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

  1. The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium 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 branded medicines used by the NHS, and are researching and developing over two-thirds of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome diseases.

    The ABPI is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry, for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.
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