The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has launched its General Election 2020 Manifesto for Medicine, with the industry body calling on all parties to “ensure that their policies support UK science and research and help maintain the UK’s position as a global leader in medicines and vaccines development into the future.”

The organisation wants the next government to “capitalise” on the world-leading status of UK R&D, and for it to prioritise patients and health security in the future UK – EU relationship. The body also stated that it believes the next Government should “commit to boosting R&D investment in partnership with industry to reach the target of investing 2.4% of GDP in R&D by 2027”.

One of the key proposals put forward in the ABPI’s manifesto is to “ring-fence” unspent funds from the Apprenticeship Levy – paid by UK employers with pay bills above £3 million to help fund apprenticeship training - into a new ‘Life Sciences Skills Fund’, in order to create a more effective system.

Further, the document pushes for the new government to “Build a thriving environment for medicine discovery so the UK can be the best place in the world to research and develop new medicines and vaccines”, as well as investing in new medicines, aiming to increase the number of clinical trials in the UK, tackling antimicrobial resistance, ensuring the UK is a world-leader in immunisation, and supporting the development of broader and deeper collaboration between the NHS and the life sciences industries.

Mike Thompson, chief executive of the ABPI hopes that the proceeding Government will “shape one of our country’s most valuable assets: an incredible pharmaceutical industry that employs tens of thousands and invests billions in research.”

He continued, “We don’t just want NHS patients to get the latest breakthroughs; we want the UK to continue being home to the science that makes them possible, with all the global investment that comes with it.”

The ABPI went on to say that it thinks the UK has skills gaps in areas such as genomics; immunology; bioinformatics and clinical pharmacology, and that the money in the new ‘Life Sciences Skills Fund’ would be channelled into educating, training and upskilling to meet the needs of these critical priority areas, such as by helping universities and FE colleges establish new academic courses for the skills we need.