ABPI's 'Manifesto for Medicine' scores key victory

The manifesto, launched by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) in a bid to influence future government policy, has scored a significant victory, winning cross-party support for one of its core proposals.

One of the ABPI's key demands in its manifesto, released earlier this month, is for the next government to commit to raising "R&D investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027, and up to three per cent in the longer term."

Cross-party support

Britain's biggest political parties have indicated their support for this.

The Conservative manifesto, released this week, states: "We are committing to the fastest ever increase in domestic public R&D spending, including in basic science research to meet our target of 2.4 per cent of GDP being spent on R&D."

Meanwhile, Labour’s manifesto, unveiled last Friday, pledges: "Labour will create an innovation nation, setting a target for three per cent of GDP to be spent on research and development (R&D) by 2030."

And the Liberal Democrat manifesto says the party, if elected to government, will "increase national spending on research and development to three per cent of GDP" with an "interim target of 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027."

ABPI chief executive Mike Thompson welcomed the commitments and said: "We look forward to working with any new government to achieve our goal of making the UK the best place in the world to research, develop and use new medicines."

Wish list

The ABPI manifesto stresses the value of the pharma sector, which employs more than 63,000 people and has an annual turnover in excess of £33bn.


It outlines a set of demands for the next government, which include prioritising patients and health security in the future relationship between Britain and the EU.

"We believe the next Government should secure a deal with the EU and future relationship based on cooperation on medicines regulation, trade, access to talent and science and innovation," it says.

Other calls to action include reforming the R&D tax credit and capital grant structure, and creating a life-sciences skills fund to tackle skills gaps in fields such as immunology and clinical pharmacology.

In addition, the ABPI wants the next government to invest in new medicines, increase the number of clinical trials in the UK, devise a new vaccines strategy to ensure people are protected from preventable infections, and ensure that the existing five-year action plan for antimicrobial resistance "is delivered and centrally funded".

And its manifesto argues for the voluntary scheme setting the prices of medicines – which caps medicines spending growth at two per cent – to be kept in place, claiming that "medicines spend is under control".

Keeping its options open

The ABPI is promoting its manifesto largely through its existing comms channels, such as its own social-media accounts, and by displaying it prominently in an election hub area on its website.

The organisation is keen to be seen as taking a neutral stance in terms of which party it would prefer to win the general election.

In a recent blog, Haseeb Ahmad, ABPI president and managing director of Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK, Ireland & Nordics, said: "The UK's life-science sector is bold, ambitious and a force for good. We look forward to working with the next Government – of whatever colour – to transform lives across the UK."



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