Nearly three-quarters of people believe that the NHS spends far more on innovative medicines than the 12 per cent of its budget it actually does, a survey published by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) shows. The survey showed that only 14 per cent of those taking part in the survey estimated the figure approximately correctly, while almost the same proportion - 13 per cent - believed that it took up more than half the NHS budget. “People will be astonished to discover that all the benefits they have come to associate with modern medicines are achieved at such relatively low cost to the NHS,” said Dr Trevor Jones, Director General of the ABPI. The survey also showed that, while an overwhelming majority of people want medicines to be a top priority for scientific research in Britain, 63 per cent do not know that this is already the case. The pharmaceutical industry funds about one-third of the UK’s industrial R&D, amounting to nearly ?9 million every day. In fact, the UK is second only to the USA in discovering new treatments, and a quarter of the world’s top 100 medicines originated here. But there is overwhelming support for the Government taking more steps to help medicines research, and for it to encourage pharmaceutical companies to invest in the country. Both principles attracted about 90 per cent backing, with only three or four per cent of people disagreeing. “People may not understand just how much effort actually goes into medicines research, but these results make it clear that they do understand its importance,” said Dr Jones. “The message is clear that the industry’s ability to innovate and provide world-beating medicines have the support of people in the UK.” Cancer is named by most people as the greatest threat to health. It is the disease for which 62 per cent of people would like a cure and 46 per cent of people are more afraid of contracting it than any other disease. It is also identified, jointly with heart disease, as the nation’s biggest killer. The good news for Britain is that the pharmaceutical industry has also targeted cancer as one of its prime targets for medicines research. It has been estimated that some 500 new medicines are in various stages of clinical trial. “Thanks to researchers working in Britain, including those in the pharmaceutical industry, our understanding of the various types of cancer has increased enormously over the past decade. The result is that cancer is no longer necessarily the death sentence that it used to be, and more advances are in the pipeline” said Dr Jones.
A £76 million research collaboration between a major UK-based pharmaceutical company and Imperial College, London was welcomed by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) as “a tremendously important partnership to benefit patients in Britain”. The unique research collaboration, announced today, will see a new clinical imaging centre built in west London to focus on cancer, stroke, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis, and psychiatric diseases. “This partnership - here seen on a unique scale - is tremendously important to not only people with these conditions but also to the reputation of the country as a world-leader in imaging technology,” said Dr Trevor Jones, Director General of the ABPI. “It is particularly appropriate that it follows hard on the heels of an ABPI survey which showed that the public see investment in medicines research as a top priority for the country and for the Government.” The survey showed that 89 per cent of people in the UK believe that pharmaceutical companies should be encouraged to invest in the UK, and that only three per cent disagreed. GlaxoSmithKline will contribute funding of ?28 million for the construction of the new Clinical Imaging Centre, next to Hammersmith Hospital. The centre will use and advance the latest technologies in magnetic resource imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). GSK will invest a further £16 million in the latest PET and MRI imaging equipment.
The announcement of the Government’s increased commitment to science and innovation has received strong support from the country’s most innovative and research-based industry pharmaceuticals. The Chancellor has promised to protect the large funding increases for science announced in the last Spending Review and pledged increased investment in future years. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) is delighted by this commitment to make Britain a world-class centre for science, technology and innovation. “The UK-based pharmaceutical industry funds onethird of the UK’s industrial research and development and has a proud tradition of innovation that has made a major contribution to the country’s health - through new medicines - and to its wealth - through its tremendous export success,” said Dr Trevor Jones, Director General of the ABPI. “We very much welcome the support of the Chancellor in maintaining and increasing this vital endeavour and look forward to co-operating with the proposed consultation.” The Chancellor’s announcement follows hard on the heels of an ABPI poll published this week that shows overwhelming support for the Government to take more steps to support medicines research, and for it to encourage pharmaceutical companies to invest in the UK. More than three quarters of people in the UK (78 per cent) think that research and development of innovative medicines is a top priority for investment. “Clearly the public will be as delighted as we are to see the Government supporting innovation. Every day the pharmaceutical industry invests nearly ?9 million in research and development with the result that the UK is second only to the USA for discovering and developing new medicines. The public depend on us to develop new and innovative medicines to treat the diseases that worry them most,” said Dr Jones. The ABPI survey showed that the public would most like to see a cure found for cancer (62 per cent), highlighting the importance of continued scientific research. The good news for Britain is the pharmaceutical industry has already targeted cancer as one of its prime areas for scientific research, with an estimated 500 new medicines in various stages of clinical trial. Surprisingly, more than a third (36 per cent) of the public believe that Britain has a poor record for discovering and developing new medicines to fight diseases when, in fact, a quarter of the world’s top 100 medicines originated here, including treatments for cancer, diabetes and asthma. The survey also showed that nearly three-quarters of people believe that the NHS spends far more on innovative medicines than the 12 per cent of its budget it actually does. Only 14 per cent of those taking part estimated that the NHS invested less than 15 per cent in medicines - and 13 per cent believed that it took up more than half the NHS budget. “People are surprised to discover that all the benefits they have come to associate with modern medicines are achieved at such relatively low cost to the NHS,” said Dr Jones. “But the message is clear that the public want medicines to be a top priority for scientific research in Britain.”