The Chairman of EMIG, Leslie Galloway, has written an opinion piece in the Pharma Times criticising the UK Government’s approach to the Life Sciences industry.
In the article, Galloway argues that an ideal health policy balances the need for a cost-effective health service whilst ensuring pharmaceutical companies have sufficient support to conduct inward R&D and manufacturing investment. This, over time, results in cheaper medicines and a more sustainable NHS.
However, the Government’s objective to close the budget deficit, and the resulting spending squeeze on public departments, has arguably lead to the prioritisation of short term financial savings over the long-term objective of nurturing a flourishing Life Sciences sector.
Whilst it is not surprising that a government facing the twin challenges of austerity and an ageing population is under pressure to control the medicines budget, Galloway argues that these constraints should not prevent the government making investments which would better serve the NHS finances in the long run.
Galloway singles out the NICE Budget Impact Test for high cost medicines, which was introduced in 2017, along with the recent consultations on charges for HTAs and higher payment percentages under the statutory regulations, as policies which put short term financial savings over the long-term health of the pharmaceutical sector. Moreover, these policies are being implemented at a particularly challenging time for the industry, which is bracing itself for the impact of a potential ‘No Deal’ Brexit, an outcome which at this stage cannot be discounted.
Unfortunately, the policy environment which Galloway refers to has structural causes which will likely be features of the UK economy for the foreseeable future. Ageing populations and high public debts have become common malaises of the developed world, and the question of the UK’s regulatory relationship with the EU will almost certainly remain a divisive political question in the short to medium term. By consequence, comments from industry figures such as Galloway are likely to become more frequent.
For companies who are concerned about the effects these policies will have on the Life Sciences sector, MAP provides detailed webpages which explain the policies in full and analyse their potential effects.
More information on the Budget Impact Test can be found here. To read MAPs explanation of how the various possible outcomes of Brexit will affect the pharmaceutical industry, click here. MAPs draft consultation responses on reforms to the PPRS and the introduction of charges for HTAs can be found here.