Parliamentary launch for UK life sciences group

A Parliamentary body has been created to highlight the contribution the life sciences sector makes to the economy, and boost the industry’s profile in the UK.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Life Sciences is chaired by Kit Malthouse, Conservative MP for North West Hampshire, along with Labour’s Lord Paul Drayson, and MPs Liz McInnes (Labour, Heywood and Middleton), Daniel Zeichner (Labour, Cambridge), John Glen (Conservative, Salisbury) and Chris Green (Conservative, Bolton West).

All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament. They are run by and for MPs and Lords, though many involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities.

The life sciences APPG will be supported by the four main trade bodies for the sector in the UK: the Association of British Healthcare Industries, the ABPI, the BioIndustry Association (BIA), and the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association.

Pharmafile attended the launch at the House of Commons this week, where life sciences minister George Freeman addressed MPs and representatives from industry and pharma trade bodies. He told the gathered audience that “adopting innovation for every pound spent is vital”.

Changes to the UK life sciences sector the group will look to make include more emphasis on genomics and data, and med tech and devices, along with innovation and the development of new medicines. They will also concentrate on manufacturing in the UK, and attempt to recreate the UK success seen when pharma companies successfully trialled Ebola vaccines, Mr Freeman said.

Kit Malthouse says: “Life sciences is the quintessential high-tech, innovative sector that we should prioritise for the 21st century economy. In addition to its economic impact, at its heart are innovations and therapies that benefit patients and the public. This is a sector I have long been passionate about and I’m delighted to officially launch the new Group.”

Alison Clough, acting chief executive of the ABPI, says: “The establishment of the APPG provides industry with an essential forum to work with parliamentarians to look at ways to improve the current ‘bed to bedside’ medicine pathway and to ensure that patients are getting access to the latest innovative treatments.”

While Steve Bates, chief executive of the BIA, says: “This APPG will provide an effective forum for parliamentarians to engage with this exciting sector.”

by Yasmita Kumar 

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