The UK must act swiftly to fend off competition if it wants to build the world’s leading life sciences hub, a new report suggests.

A year on from the launch of the government’s life science vision, the report commissioned by the the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said although achieving the ambition remained feasible, the UK would need an attractive business environment because its competitor countries were becoming more adept at attracting investment.

To achieve the ambition of the vision, the PwC-produced report suggested raising pharmaceutical R&D investment in the UK to build a ‘stronger manufacturing and research infrastructure’, alongside better investment in, access to and uptake of innovative medicines.

It said the UK would also need to adopt a renewed approach to the priority healthcare challenges identified in the government’s ‘Life Science Vision’, which would mean cutting the overall burden on health of dementia, cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory disease and mental health.

The report quantified the size of the prize if the vision was implemented in full and the UK could emulate the successes of leading EU countries, which included:

  • £68 billion in additional GDP over 30 years, owing to increased R&D investment
  • £16.3 billion additional annual GDP from increased pharmaceutical exports
    • Supporting 85,000 additional jobs
  • Up to 40 per cent decrease in disease burden across the whole UK – for areas like cardiovascular disease, mental health conditions and Cancer.
  • Reduced variation in speed of access to new medicines within three months of licensing for all NHS patients.

Richard Torbett, chief executive of the ABPI, said: “The report shows the opportunities that investment in life sciences can bring to UK patients, the NHS and the economy.

“Global competition is fiercer than ever, and the UK is struggling to keep pace with competitors like France and Germany. By prioritizing this sector, building strong research and manufacturing bases and creating policies to improve access to medicines for patients we can be a world leader in ten years. We know government shares this ambition and we urge them to work with us to fulfil the UK’s potential.”

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