The Government needs to do more to support life sciences in the UK and create an environment where the industry can flourish, a new survey has found.
RSA’s The UK Life Sciences Leaders’ Survey 2011 revealed worries over the NHS reforms, medicine pricing and reimbursement, employment issues and the cost of research amongst its leaders.
Nick Stephens, CEO of RSA, says the Government “urgently needs to do more to ensure that education, regulation, access to medicines and the NHS research base align to support the industry’s continued contribution to the UK economy”.
The report is the second annual survey of industry bosses. Last year the general feeling was of optimism with leaders believing the recently elected coalition Government would improve the business environment.
But twelve months later the mood has changed with results finding leaders claim the UK is not competing effectively globally, creating opportunities for early phase/smaller companies or making the most of its unique selling points: the NHS and skills in innovation and discovery.
Leaders also raised concerns about the increasing cost of working in the UK, the implication of R&D as a result of the NHS reforms, the regulatory burden on operations and the process from development to market. They also advised that fiscal and tax incentives should be given to SMEs to help their growth and the UK compete globally.
Worries were also raised about the introduction of value-based pricing. However, in contrast, health technology assessments were broadly welcomed as a means of enhancing value and meeting therapeutic requirements, the report found.
During the tough economic environment, the survey found that leaders would focus on innovation, creating flexible organisations and processes, and refocusing research and development to weather the current storm.
In a perfect world, leaders revealed they would investing in R&D and make the healthcare sector, regulatory and commercial environment work closer together to achieve better outcomes for patients and the pharmaceutical industry.
Stephen Whitehead, CEO, ABPI, says the survey shows more support is needed for biopharmaceutical companies in the ever-changing NHS. “There is much that the Government has done to support the industry, particularly through the Growth Review and the Office for Life Sciences,” he said. “But we need to build on this as part of a continuing relationship with NHS and Government to explore how unnecessary bureaucracy can be eliminated from the healthcare system so that new treatments can reach patients as quickly as possible.”