UK industry group wants next Government to invest in drug production

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Astrazeneca United kingdom

Industry group the ABPI has called on the next UK Government to support local drug production, increase National Health Service (NHS) funding and put life sciences at the heart of its post-Brexit plan.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) called for manufacturing support in a “manifesto” published today, also outlining what it wants from the UK Government after the general election in June​.

The association – which represents more than 150 pharmaceutical firms – said the UK needs to support local drug production as a priority. It said the Government needs to implement plans to build a pipeline of skilled research and innovation talent in the UK, highlighting “manufacturing technicians​” as a target group.

The ABPI also said infrastructure investment is needed to help make the UK more competitive, suggesting this should include “the creation of collaborative centres of excellence for medicines manufacturing​.”

The Government should also ensure corporation taxes are attractive to drug industry according to the ABPI, which said retention of the patent box​ and extension of the R&D credits scheme should be used to incentivise manufacturing.

NHS spending

It also urged the next Government to increase public health spending.

Lisa Anson, new ABPI President and Country President of AstraZeneca UK, said: “The new Government should commit to bringing healthcare investment in line with the G7 average in order to deliver the services and outcomes that British patients deserve.

Anson added that: “Ensuring that the NHS and Life Sciences industry are at the heart of the new industrial strategy, and Brexit negotiations, is also crucial for securing this ambition​.”

According to Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures​ the UK invests 9.9% of its gross domestic product (GDP) in healthcare, well below the 11.3% G7 average.

Likewise access to drugs is also poorer according to data​ from the Office for Life sciences, with patients in France and Germany five times more likely to receive a new medicine than those in the UK.


The ABPI also called on the next Government to secure a relationship with the EU that “prioritises patients and public health​.”

CEO Mike Thomspon said:"As we leave the EU, the new Government's agenda will need to set out the UK's stall in the global marketplace​.

This is in keeping with what the ABPI said last year​ before the referendum, when it warned that members would prioritize EU license applications because of the “smaller patient population in the UK​.”

It also fits with the ABPI’s pre-referendum​ warning about the likely negative impact the European Medicines Agency (EMA) leaving London – which looks​ certain – would have on drug availability.

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