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ABPI respond to Wes Streeting’s commitment to boosting the economy through the life sciences sector

At a speech today at the Tony Blair Institute Future of Britain Conference, Wes Streeting, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said he plans to boost the economy through the life sciences sector.

In his speech, Wes Streeting said, “One of the things I've said to my department and to the NHS is we need to rethink our role in government and in our country at large. This is no longer simply a public services department. This is an economic growth department, and the health of the nation and the health of the economy are inextricably linked.”

He continued, “If we can marry our health and social care system with the incredible life sciences and med tech ecosystem we have in this country, we can be a powerhouse for the life sciences and med tech revolution here in this country and in the world. And that is an economic growth mission.”

Responding to the comments, Richard Torbett, ABPI Chief Executive, said: “Wes Streeting is right to think about the health system as more than just a public service. It is an intrinsic part of our national economy - as an employer, as a driver and adopter of new innovations, and as a place to do cutting-edge research and discovery.

“With the right outlook, our health system can become an active partner for life science innovation and discovery. It can do more to prevent ill health, through the use of new vaccines and preventative medicines, while also getting people healthy and back to work by removing persistent inequality of access to the most effective treatments.”

ABPI’s ‘Manifesto for Investment, Health, and Growth,’ sets out a plan to drive better health and fairness to patients in the NHS, boost patient access to new medicines via clinical trials, bring more manufacturing jobs and value to the UK, and create more highly-skilled well-paid jobs in all parts of the country.

Key measures the ABPI would like to see from Labour in its first 100 days in government include:

  • The launch of the Life Sciences Manufacturing Capital Grants Facility
  • The rapid passing of outstanding UK clinical trials legislation to enhance the UK’s attractiveness for inward investment, including into research within the NHS.
  • The urgent appointment of a new Chair and Chief Executive to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
  • Increase the commercial flexibility in the NHS England Commercial Framework for New Medicines to remove barriers for companies to launch new medicines and indications so that NHS patients can access the latest innovative medicines.
  • Support the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to rapidly review the ‘severity modifier’ used in medicine appraisals.
  • Re-establish a cross-government and industry working group to examine progress in implementing vaccination-related policy.
  • Review and respond to outstanding recommendations made for the National Immunisation Programme by the Joint Committee on Vaccination & Immunisation.

Last modified: 09 July 2024

Last reviewed: 09 July 2024

The ABPI exists to make the UK the best place in the world to research, develop and use new medicines. We represent companies of all sizes who invest in discovering the medicines of the future. 

Our members supply cutting edge treatments that improve and save the lives of millions of people. We work in partnership with Government and the NHS so patients can get new treatments faster and the NHS can plan how much it spends on medicines. Every day, we partner with organisations in the life sciences community and beyond to transform lives across the UK.