The leader’s comment (‘Healing the UK pharma industry’) was right to highlight concerns about the role of the pharmaceutical industry to the UK and the challenges it faces in continuing to support economic growth in the UK. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the UK’s most valuable assets, researching and developing innovative medicines for patients, and making a vital contribution to the UK’s economy – employing 68,000 people, investing £13.3 million per day on research and development, and contributing £210,000 to GDP per year, per employee.
However, pharmaceutical innovation in the UK is at a tipping point. The UK’s position as the country of origin of the leading 100 global medicines by sales declined between 2004 and 2011, and today, UK patients are denied access to medicines that are routinely available in other countries – we have among the lowest usage of innovative medicines compared to other comparable countries, despite having among the lowest prices of medicines in Europe. If these trends continue, global pharmaceutical companies will inevitably think twice before investing in the UK, resulting in further cuts to jobs and investment in the economy, and crucially, delaying access to the most modern medicines for patients in the UK.
The pharmaceutical industry remains committed to working in partnership with the NHS to ensure that patients and the economy continue to benefit from the most advanced medicines and cutting edge research. However, the Government must do more to actively address the growing challenges faced by industry, providing the right fiscal, R&D and commercial environment for the pharmaceutical industry to thrive. Crucially, ensuring innovative medicines are reimbursed at a fair price and used rapidly and consistently throughout the NHS is vital if the pharmaceutical industry is to continue to make the significant contribution that it can to patient health and the UK economy.
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Notes to editors
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 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.