ABPI Annual Conference
Monday, April 14, 2014
Last Thursday, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) held its annual conference for the great and the good in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector. The focus of this year’s conference was the topic of innovation, with a particular emphasis on how the pharmaceutical industry can introduce medicines and technologies quicker to the NHS and the market place.
The conference opened with an impassioned speech from Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the ABPI, about how the NHS has improved greatly with the medicines provided by its members. However, he stated that there remain too many barriers which delay or excluded patients from the treatments that they need. He used the example of the treatment of his own father to underline the obstacles and challenges that are still apparent in the health service.
After that emotionally powerful introduction the day went from strength to strength, with a list of influential speakers outlining the changes that they believed were necessary to the current healthcare regulations and procedures, including NICE and the market access trialling system. Jeremy Haigh, Chief Executive Officer of Amgen Ltd, made the bold statement that the current medicine trialling system was not fit for purpose and was simply unsustainable. He advocated that advances in genomics and gene sequencing meant that personalised medicines were going to be the next innovation that would see a revolution in healthcare treatments.
Other notable speakers were Dr Penny Dash, Director at McKinsey, who outlined the necessity of radical change needed within the NHS, especially at the primary and community care levels, which she said were the most inefficient within the whole NHS care pathway. Both Miles Ayling, Director of Innovation at NHS England, and Professor Sir Malcolm Grant, Chair of NHS England, recognised that current health provision in the NHS and healthcare system needed to change. Sir Malcolm even went so far as to say that primary care is the cornerstone of the NHS but was severely fractured.
Overall the conference and its speakers set the direction of where the NHS and the healthcare system needed to go in order for ABPI members to work with it more productively and effectively. As Miles Ayling said “Innovation is here to stay in the NHS”.