ABPI calls on UK government to address poor investment performance


The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry says work needs to be done to improve patient access to new drugs and make the market more accessible

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has called on the next government to implement a clear strategy improve healthcare investment in the UK.

The organisation recommends an increase in healthcare investment to the G7 average; and working to ensure that, in terms of patient access to new cost-effective medicines and vaccines, the UK is in the top quartile of the OECD by 2022.

The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal forum of countries representing around half of global economic output. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental economic organisation of 35 high income countries.

Currently, the UK spends a total of 9.9% of GDP on healthcare, placing them sixth out of the G7 nations for healthcare investment. Only Italy spends less.

“With an ageing population, this risks reducing the availability of care when we need it most,” says the ABPI's manifesto.

With an ageing population, this risks reducing the availability of care when we need it most.

ABPI adds that the governemnt needs to set out a clear plan on how patients can access the medicines they need on the naiton's National Health Service (NHS).

Some patients in the UK are still unable to obtain cost effective new treatments; Government analysis shows that, on average, for every 100 patients in comparable countries, just 18 patients in the UK receive access to a new medicine in its first year of launch.

The organisation claims that reforming the NHS to embrace new treatments is “crucial” to providing quality care to more patients within a sustainable budget.

Specific ABPI recommendations include:

  • Past changes to NICE technology appraisals, including the £20m budget impact threshold, should be reversed;
  • Increase funding for basic science so that the UK reaches a target of 3% of GDP spend on research and development by 2022;
  • Improve the global competitiveness of UK medicines manufacturing, through targeted infrastructure investment that supports the commercialisation of UK research;
  • Ensure the NHS is seen as a global early adopter of new cost effective medicines and vaccines;
  • Continually monitor the global competiveness of the UK’s tax regime, with regular reviews of corporation tax; by retaining a competitive patent box; and R&D tax credits should be extended to incentivise the growth of advanced manufacturing.
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The ABPI also urges the UK government to secure: co-operation with the EU on the regulation of medicines; access to the best talent in the region; predictable access to funding and collaboration for scientific research; and the ability to freely trade medicines / pharmaceutical supplies across borders.