Innovation is the key to the pharmaceutical industry’s success and benefits both the health and wealth of the country, says the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry in its submission to the Department of Health’s consultation on the future of the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme.
“But the challenge of tackling many life-threatening and debilitating illnesses continues to grow as the cost of research increases to £500million per new medicine,” says the ABPI report. “Only a small proportion of new medicines – three in 10 – go on to return more than their costs of development. It remains vital to ensure that the UK continues to foster an environment that encourages such investment and results in major benefits for patients, the NHS and the economy.”
In real terms the price of medicines are now 12 per cent lower than 10 years ago. The PPRS caps the profits that pharmaceutical companies can make on sales of branded prescription medicines to the NHS but offers no guaranteed profit level. The current PPRS runs until at least September 2004, and the DoH is undertaking a public consultation exercise on its future format.
The ABPI’s submission illustrates how pharmaceutical costs remain a smaller proportion of health costs in the UK than in most other European countries and predicts that over the next three years patent expiries on 20 per cent of brand medicines worth over £1.5 billion a year will lead to significant savings in NHS medicine costs as generic copies enter the market. “As a result the rate of growth in the medicines bill for the NHS is falling and will continue to fall over the next six years,” say the ABPI response.
It also identifies how greater prescribing of modern medicines has shown to be beneficial in helping Government to meet its key targets for improving health care in areas such as coronary heart disease, where mortality rates over the past 10 years have fallen by more than 40 per cent.
“In recent years we have entered into a period of unprecedented partnership working between industry and Government. Any future PPRS should balance the need for NHS prudence with the industry’s future success in developing new medicines and the UK’s science base, and encouraging local and inward investment to the UK by pharmaceutical companies,” said Dr John Patterson, President of the ABPI.
ABPI welcomes Government plans to end postcode in cancer, but warns problem is wide
The Government’s announcement of plans to review the availability of cancer treatments across the NHS has been welcomed by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI). But the ABPI also warned that this problem is not confined to the treatment of cancer.
The ABPI said the Government also needs to review other areas where postcode prescribing continues to be an issue. In fact, the problem still affects many areas reviewed by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) – including Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and diabetes – where modern treatments are not being made universally available as recommended.
In spite of the Government’s introduction of directions to require mandatory funding of positive guidance, NHS organisations are not adopting NICE recommendations, and patients are being denied access to medicines that have been found to be clinically and cost effective.
“It is clear that a review is needed to look at where and why this is happening,” said Dr Trevor Jones, ABPI Director General. “We will probably find there are a number of reasons, including pressure on GP and hospital budgets, a traditional conservatism of doctors to take up new treatments, and a lack of knowledge in parts of the NHS about the benefits of some of these advances. It is clear that these modern treatments do have major advantages for patients and they are entitled to benefit from them.”
The House of Commons Health Select Committee review of NICE last year called for the systematic monitoring of the implementation of NICE guidance at a local level. The pharmaceutical industry believes that this is essential if patients are to benefit from NICE recommendations.
ABPI welcomes new report on Clinical Research
A new report that calls for more to be done to encourage advances in clinical research in the UK has been welcomed by the ABPI.
The report, Strengthening Clinical Research, published by the Academy of Medical Sciences, highlights key issues that the ABPI has raised about the value of research for the UK.
“This report adds weight to the pharmaceutical industry’s position on clinical research in the UK,” said ABPI Director General Dr Trevor Jones. “We have a proud record of research here, but importantly, the report draws attention to the fact that we need even better infrastructure to ensure that the UK can continue to be a preferred location for clinical studies.”
The report specifically cites increasingly complex and bureaucratic ethical and legal requirements in the UK and EU for a serious lack of activity in UK clinical trials.
“In recent years, through the PICTF initiative, we have made significant progress to reduce bureaucracy, but clearly there is considerable room for even more. The practical consequences are that, at present, patients have to wait longer for new medicines, and in some cases they may be deprived of them altogether. We believe that a co-ordinated network for clinical trials within the NHS would be a major step forward,” said Dr Jones.
The report also recognises the importance of encouraging the presence of research conducted by the pharmaceutical industry in the UK – which conducts both experimental medicine and clinical trials.
The pharmaceutical industry invested £3.2 billion pounds in R&D in the UK in 2002 – nearly £9 million every day. In addition, nearly a quarter of the world’s top 100 medicines were discovered and developed in Britain, more than any country except the US.
Of the total amount spent on healthcare-related R&D in the UK, the pharmaceutical industry contributes significantly more than all other sectors combined. The industry spent 65 per cent of the total investment in 2002, compared to eight per cent by the Medical Research Council (MRC), 11 per cent by the Department of Health, three per cent by higher education sources and 13 per cent by medical charities.
“Huge as the industry’s investment is, there is still room to improve the R&D environment in the UK,” said Dr Jones. “When companies put their money into researching new medicines, it is a major commitment – and the more that can be done to provide the infrastructure, investment incentives and an overall priority for research, the more the pharmaceutical industry will be encouraged to invest here in the UK.”
Pharmaceutical Industry continues to lead UK R&D Investment
A new study published recently reveals the significant investment made by the pharmaceutical industry into re-search and development (R&D) in the UK, said the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).
The annual publication of the Department for Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Research and Development Scoreboard shows that the pharmaceutical industry continues to be the largest investor by far in R&D in the UK. With total pharmaceutical investment amounting to 40 per cent, this notably outweighs other sectors – including the second largest, aerospace and defence, which invested nine per cent of the UK total.
“These results clearly illustrate the enormous investment made by the pharmaceutical industry in this country,” said Dr Trevor Jones. “The money spent on R&D in the UK has a real impact on patients – who receive the benefits of the latest medicines – as well as on the economy.”
The report shows that the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry is only one of three sectors where investment in R&D occurs above an international level. The UK is second only to the US in terms of attracting R&D.
“But this level of investment will only be sustainable if the overall environment continues to be favourable – not just with regard to R&D. For the pharmaceutical industry to remain strong, all factors – from the UK’s ability to be competitive in manufacturing, to the industry’s relationship with the NHS – must be vigilantly maintained so that investment will continue to be attracted as well as held in the UK,” said Dr Jones.