House of Lords unloads both barrels on Government’s life science strategy approach

pharmafile | April 26, 2018 | News story | Medical Communications ABPI, Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, UK government, biotech, drugs, pharma, pharmaceutical 

The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy was supposed to forge a path forward for the industry, despite pressures from Brexit, to go from strength-to-strength as a pillar of the UK economy.

Now, a House of Lords report has taken a scathing assessment of the UK government’s commitment to actually following the recommendations of the report, which had been backed by business, the charity sector and from within academia.

The name of the report should give a clue as to how unhappy the authors are at the Government, entitled it: Life Sciences Industrial Strategy: Who’s driving the bus?

As is pointed towards, the main finding of the report is that there is a lack of authority and accountability driving the implementation of the original strategy, leaving its approach foundering. The report questions whether the Government has a real commitment to seeing the Life Science Industrial Strategy carried out at all.

Narendra Patel, Chairman of the Committee that put the report together, said: “If implemented correctly the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy will make a major contribution to the future economic prosperity of the UK but what became clear throughout our inquiry is that it stands little chance of success without a detailed plan for implementation and clear lines of authority, responsibility and accountability.

“The Government has an opportunity right now to get ahead of international competition. It can, and must, take bold steps to secure the future growth and expansion of the life sciences sector. This is even more vital as the UK prepares for life outside the European Union.”

The report identified that because the NHS is central to the strategy, only the Government can take control and responsibility for its implementation.  It also suggests that the Government has not done enough to ensure that the NHS is able to follow through on suggestions from the strategy and has not provided the NHS with the support required to make any response effective.

One of the suggestions that the report made was to provide financial support and incentives for any NHS trust that is able to take forward implementation of some of the ideas mentioned in the strategy.

In particular, the report warns to learn of lessons learned from previous strategies: “Witnesses pointed to the 2011 Life Sciences strategy as an example of what can happen if a strategy is not implemented effectively. The 2011 strategy was considered a partial success by many witnesses but some of its recommendations were not implemented because of a lack of an adequate implementation plan and clear accountability”.

Ben Hargreaves

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