Pharma industry representatives are calling on the whichever government takes control of Whitehall after the general election on June 8 to be more ambitious in securing a world class NHS for patients and improving access to innovative medicines.

In its manifesto ​for the 2017 UK General Election, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has called for a clear strategy on improving outcomes for patients.

Absolutely crucial to this is boosting healthcare investment so that is falls in line with the G7 average of 11.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), given that the UK currently only invests 9.9 percent of GDP, with only Italy falling behind it.

Also critical, it says, is ensuring that the UK is in the top quartile of OECD countries for patient access to new medicines and vaccines by 2022. Again, the UK is not faring well against its peers on this: in the first year of launch, patients in France and Germany are around five times more likely to receive a new medicine than those in the UK.

In its manifesto the ABPI has laid clear three key priorities to improve the use of medicines and grow the UK’s status as a global hub for life sciences and pharmaceuticals.

For one, the next government must secure a “world-class” NHS for patients by: agreeing a new long term, voluntary Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry that ensures patients receive medicines at the same levels as the best countries in Europe; balancing the need to reward innovation with the need to secure the best value for money for the NHS; creating a streamlined, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)-led, system for the assessment of medicines in England, integrated into a new, voluntary PPRS, which reduces bureaucracy; and measuring NHS patient outcomes through a new, independent assessment.

It must also secure global investment and jobs with a new industrial strategy that “cements the UK’s position as a leading global hub for life science”. To achieve this, the new government should: reach a target of 3 percent of GDP spend on research and development by 2022 through a strategic vision for publicly funded science research; attract global scientists to the UK; improve the global competitiveness of UK medicines manufacturing, through targeted infrastructure investment in advanced manufacturing; and ensure that the NHS is seen as a global early adopter of new cost effective medicines and vaccines.

Lastly, a new relationship with the European Union (EU) that prioritises patients and public health must be secured through a phased transition that protects patient access to medicines and public health.

“This General Election comes at a critical juncture. Do we want to improve NHS patient outcomes and ensure Britain continues to be a global player in Life Sciences, or run the risk of the UK becoming a desert for healthcare innovation?” said Lisa Anson, new ABPI president and country president of AstraZeneca UK.

“The new Government should commit to bringing healthcare investment in line with the G7 average in order to deliver the services and outcomes that British patients deserve. Ensuring that the NHS and Life Sciences industry are at the heart of the new industrial strategy, and Brexit negotiations, is also crucial for securing this ambition.”