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All things Pharma

UK pharma past, present and future – ABPI launches Annual Report and plans for 2010

The ABPI has promised that in 2010 the UK will start to move into a position of world leadership in creating, valuing and accessing healthcare innovation.

Following its recent Conference the ABPI has launched both their 2009/10 Annual Report and 2010 Strategic Plan, reviewing 2009/10, but also looking ahead to build on recent progress.

The Annual Report celebrates the ABPI’s achievements of the last year, including the launch of the Office for Life Sciences to support the interests of the life sciences industry in the UK and work with the Kennedy report to reform Healthcare Technology Assessments (HTA).

The Strategic Plan, on the other hand, lays out what the Association hopes to achieve over the next 12 months and includes promises to boost trust in the industry, extend and improve joint working between companies and the NHS and build on the momentum started by the Office for Life Sciences.

Looking back

The Annual Report looks back on what is described as “an eventful and successful” year and is optimistic about the industry’s future, but points out that the “financial and NHS climate” must be “conducive to innovation”.

The Report states: “The opportunities that lie ahead for the UK pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in a globally dynamic environment are vast. The fast moving pace of science, if harnessed, will enable the UK to retain its position as a world leader in the life sciences industry.”

Last year saw the launch of the ABPI’s four key imperatives: Value, Innovation, Trust and Access or VITA, which have been the focus of its activities. Achievements are targeted within these areas and separated within the document to illustrate this structure.

However, in terms of overall achievements, the document focuses mainly on the ABPI’s improved relationship with healthcare providers and regulatory authorities, in particular through the progress achieved by the launch of the Office for Life Sciences.

A key achievement for the industry was the establishment of the Office for Life Sciences, which recognised that joined-up government action was required to protect the interests of the life sciences industry in the UK.

As a result of collaboration between the ABPI and the Office for Life Sciences, the Life Sciences Blueprint was published in July 2009 and Life Sciences 2010: Delivering the Blueprint in January 2010. These encompassed vital initiatives, including the patent box, the innovation pass and the Life Sciences Super Cluster, each of which considerably improved conditions and incentives for life sciences companies operating in the UK.

Other achievements for the ABPI over the last year include:

  • The Kennedy report including recommendations that will enable companies to have increased involvement in the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) process.
  • Continued collaboration between the ABPI and NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson on how the industry can support the QIPP agenda.
  • A commitment to R&D being added to the Annual Operating Framework for the NHS.
  • The NHS Constitution enshrining the right of patients to have access to NICE approved treatments.
  • The success of industry-NHS joint working projects.
  • The creation of a forum to allow industry to engage with Higher Education institutions to enhance the skills needed by the industry.

Beyond sponsorship

One key theme of this year’s Annual Report is the potential for joint working between the health service and the pharma industry and the document focuses particularly on achievements in this area.

These include the start of the ABPI’s NHS Partnership Programme to allow closer engagements between companies and the NHS, and launch of the Moving Beyond Sponsorship joint working toolkit in March 2008.

“This commitment to a shared vision and a more mature relationship between pharmaceutical companies and NHS organisations has already proved it can deliver better patient care,” the Annual Report states.

A new era

The 2010 Strategic Plan begins by describing the ABPI as offering a “compelling single voice founded on a shared understanding”.

It goes on to say: “The ABPI is a catalyst for a new era of innovation in pharmaceuticals, improving the health and wealth of the nation. In the next decade, the UK will move to a position of world leadership in creating, valuing and accessing healthcare innovation.”

The Plan divides the ABPI’s key campaign objectives for the coming year in accordance with the four VITA imperatives. The campaign objectives will be:

  • To ensure innovative medicines are valued in the UK as cost-effective solutions for preventing and treating diseases (Value).
  • To restore the UK as a world class leader in innovation by fostering excellence through key stakeholder partnerships (Innovation).
  • To create a new contract between industry and society based on integrity, honesty, knowledge, appropriate behaviour, transparency, openness and trust (Trust).
  • To get the right medicine to the right patient at the right time (Access).

The document also contains the ABPI’s top level organisational objectives and how these will translate into activity for each of the imperatives.

The first of these is to maintain the momentum started by the launch of the Office for Life Sciences, and is associated with activities such as implementing the innovation pass, leveraging the QIPP opportunity, expanding joint working to a national scale, launching the Super Cluster and creating a positive environment for early clinical research.

The ABPI’s second objective is to secure commitment to HTA reform to ensure that the UK is an environment that champions innovation, which will include the publishing of guidance for companies on data collection for HTAs and the launch of a Blue Print document describing how the UK can become a global centre of excellence in this area.

The Association has also committed to implementing various behavior changes to boost the trust between the ABPI and other bodies, including new proposals within the Code of Practice to promote transparency, an annual survey conducted with stakeholders to gauge the reputation of the industry and a position paper on best practice in research data sharing to be delivered to the EFPIA by the end of 2010.

Further objectives for 2010 are to agree principles for future PPRS, improve smaller member engagement, resolve pension conflict and agree ABPI financing, modernize ABPI systems and facilities and to bring life science trade associations together.

In conclusion

The Annual Report concludes: “Great progress was made in working towards improved health outcomes for patients, working in collaboration with the NHS and creating a better investment environment for our industry. However, we still need to do more to ensure that all patients in the UK have access to new medicines and treatment with no geographical anomalies, delay or restrictions. We are looking forward to working even closer with all our stakeholders in the new political environment to achieve this.”

The 2009/10 Annual Report and 2010 Strategic Plan are available at http://www.abpi.org.uk/recent.asp.

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