Speech: ABPI Vice President Susan Rienow addresses Pharma Integrates conference
The ABPI's Vice-President Susan Rienow opened the Pharma Integrates conference today and spoke about the opportunities and challenges facing the sector.
I believe our industry can transform the lives of patients and transform the UK economy. Doing so will only be possible in partnership drawing on the learnings from the pandemic and how all parties came together behind a common aim – something that is at the heart of the ABPI’s strategy, as well as at Pfizer. Susan Rienow, ABPI Vice-President
(Check against delivery)
Thank you Trevor, good morning everyone. Welcome to Pharma Integrates 2022.
I’m Susan Rienow, Country President of Pfizer, but today I’m speaking to you in my new role as Vice-President of the ABPI.
Before I start, I’d like to thank everyone who made today’s event possible, the speakers and sponsors for their support, and you all as delegates for your participation.
Please do get involved and make the most of today, I hope you can make new connections and visit the exhibitors.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to set the scene for this year’s conference.
Almost three years ago the World Health Organisation was first informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia, detected in Wuhan City, China.
And back then we didn’t know that COVID would touch every area of all of our lives. From how we work and travel, to how we spend time with our family and friends
As we now tentatively move on from the immediate impacts of the pandemic, the longer-term impacts that we face are now clear.
And just as our industry was central to tackling the pandemic itself, something which we can all be really proud of, we are central to tackling the global challenges we are facing today.
Scene setting and successes
This morning, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor will be going through their final preparations ahead of the fiscal statement being released later today, and there have been warnings of where tough choices are being made.
He has also made it clear that he wants to deliver the 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto, which contains a number of hugely important commitments for our sector – notably to turn the UK into a Science and Technology Superpower.
The pharmaceutical industry in the UK will be central to how the Government tackles both the short-term crises we face, and delivering on the Government’s long-term ambitions.
As a sector, we invest £5 billion in research in the UK every year. More than any other sector.
Life sciences as a whole contributes 37 billion pounds per year to UK GDP, and over 580,000 jobs to the UK economy.
Simply put, you can’t build a science superpower without building a life sciences superpower.
The same is true for tackling the biggest health issues we face. Whether that is rapidly reducing NHS waiting lists or transforming patient outcomes in the UK – the medicines and vaccines developed by our industry have a critical role to play.
What’s more, is that the pipeline of new medicines and vaccines has never looked more exciting.
So, it’s clear that there is huge potential in our sector. Both to transform the UK economy and transform the lives of patients.
However, we are starting to see signs that the UK is falling behind our competitors in the race to be a life sciences superpower.
Some key areas stand out.
Firstly, the UK’s share of global pharmaceutical R&D has fallen from 7.7 per cent in 2012 to 4.2 per cent in 2020.
Furthermore, recent ABPI data show that industry sponsored clinical trials in the UK have fallen by 41% between 2017 and 2021.
And since 2009, manufacturing production volumes have fallen by 29 per cent.
Government figures also show that just 68% of medicines approved by the European Medicines Agency were made available in England between 2017 – 2020.
And even when approved, use of these new medicines is well below the average of our competitors. They are all symptoms of the increasing pressures that companies are under in the UK.
So what are the factors causing these symptoms, and can the industry deliver the shot in the arm the UK economy so urgently needs?
The first thing to say is that the industry is absolutely committed to turning these trends around.
The ABPI exists to make the UK the best place in the world to research, develop and use new medicines and vaccines. And to achieve this, we must work in partnership not just with the Government, but with the NHS, academia and the incredible medical research charity community.
This partnership has a foundation in the Life Sciences Vision, which was jointly created by all of the groups I have just mentioned.
We think the Vision provides a comprehensive blueprint of what needs to be done. From access to finance and manufacturing; to clinical research and improving access to new medicines.
The prize for implementing the Life Sciences Vision in full is clear. Recent research demonstrates that this would deliver:
- £68 billion in additional GDP over 30 years, owing to increased R&D investment alone;
- £16.3 billion additional annual GDP from increased pharmaceutical exports;
- Up to a 40% decrease in disease burden across the whole UK – for areas like cardiovascular disease, mental health conditions and cancer.
There are some things that the Government could do now – including at today’s fiscal statement – which would help accelerate the delivery of the Vision.
The ABPI has set out how R&D incentives can be improved to drive more research investment.
We have also set out how we can improve capital grants, to encourage more manufacturing investment.
And we have set out how we can reverse the decline in clinical research and make it easier for companies to set up, recruit to, and deliver clinical trials in the UK.
Alongside these changes, we must improve the access to the latest medicines and vaccines to transform the health of patients across the UK.
We know that there are 1.2 million patients missing our on new medicines in just four medicine classes.
Not withstanding the impact that these treatments would have on the lives of patients, it is estimated that we are losing out on almost £18bn of productivity gains.
It is in this area that the UK’s health and our economic prosperity are so clearly linked – a lesson that the pandemic taught us, but which we must learn from as we tackle the challenges we face today.
So as I wish everyone an excellent day at Pharma Integrates, I hope I have set out how I believe our industry can transform the lives of patients and transform the UK economy.
Doing so will only be possible in partnership drawing on the learnings from the pandemic and how all parties came together behind a common aim – something that is at the heart of the ABPI’s strategy, as well as at Pfizer.
Thank you very much for having me this year and now I’d like to hand over to the speakers for our next session.
- Life Sciences
Last modified: 20 September 2023
Last reviewed: 20 September 2023