On Tuesday 23 January, the Lords Science and Technology Committee took evidence on Life Sciences and the Industrial Strategy from The Lord O’Shaughnessy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), and The Rt Hon. the Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The Committee examined what plans the Government has drawn up to implement the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and ensure its success, the intended role of the NHS in its implementation, and whether the UK has the necessary skills to deliver the strategy. Key discussion points included:
- Agreement that the strategy is fundamentally a partnership between the Government, Industry, the NHS, and academia: success will involve securing a commitment from those four partners to come together. A series of further sector deals will also be required, including the Research and Development deal announced in the Budget.
- The Independent Industrial Strategy Council will oversee the whole industrial strategy and its implementation across all Government departments, while implementation of the Life Sciences strategy will be the responsibility of the new Life Sciences Council. The Life Sciences Council will be jointly chaired by the Secretaries of State for BEIS and DHSC and Pascal Soriot from AstraZeneca, and will meet for the first time in April.
- The pricing of innovative treatments and technologies was deliberately excluded from the strategy since this is dealt with via the PPRS pricing scheme.
- A sense that an attitudinal change in the relationship between the NHS and industry is underway that will allow innovations to be increasingly adopted, supported by investment to support accelerated adoption and recent incentives that have been introduced to reward uptake.