British pharma responds to UK’s Chancellor’s new Spending Review

The ABPI has commented on the new Spending Review and outlined ways the UK government can help the life sciences sector.

The UK Chancellor has unveiled the government’s spending plans for the coming year, including for National Health Service (NHS) funding, clinical research and R&D. Richard Torbett, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), responded to the new Spending Review. 

“Today’s Spending Review was delivered at a time of huge economic uncertainty but also at a time when new vaccines from the pharmaceutical industry and its partners are offering the world hope of a way out of the pandemic. The Chancellor sent an important signal of support for NHS services that have been hit by the pandemic. It is critical that where treatment has been delayed or disrupted, we work together to get it back on track. Pharmaceutical companies continue to work around the clock to support this work, including how to safely restart start the clinical trials and research affected,” said Torbett on the £3 billion to support the NHS recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. 

Regarding the £14.6 billion in funding for R&D to aid the UK’s future as a global leader in science and technology, Torbett said: “As the government focuses on its growth agenda, it should look to life sciences and make the most of this funding to unlock the future potential of our sector. Policies that encourage investment into cutting-edge research – such as delivering on the vision for UK health data – will deliver a triple win: for jobs, for the economy and for the UK’s world-beating life sciences sector.” 

Finally, Torbett addressed funding for coronavirus vaccines and preventative measures: “As companies begin to seek approval from the regulator for new COVID-19 vaccines, it is critical that we get the roll out right. Today’s funding will help them and the NHS plan for this enormous task and work together so that the right logistics are in place.”

The ABPI has also suggested several ways that the UK government can plan for the future success of the life sciences sector, both to aid in the economic recovery and the UK’s resilience against future health threats. The association says that those plans should include:

  • Capital grants for medicines manufacturing – up-front capital incentives to attract investment in strategically important projects, as are currently offered by many of the UK’s leading competitors
  • Enhanced R&D tax credits – to catalyse growth across all innovative industries and allow the pharmaceutical industry to invest in cutting-edge research including health data
  • Investment in preventative healthcare – ensuring the NHS’ long term goals for prevention are met through a fully funded vaccine programme and partnerships with the life science sector
  • Modernised National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) appraisal methods – so that the full value of a medicine’s impact on patients, carers, the NHS and society is reflected would make a significant improvement to the ability for patients with rare diseases to access the latest medicines.