NHS patients missing out on innovative medicines

New data shows that 1.2 million additional NHS patients are currently eligible for vital medicines but are missing out. The need for maximum innovation in the health and life sciences sector grows.

Data by PwC for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) highlights the potential benefits of increased investment in clinically and cost-effective new medicines to patients, society and the economy.

The research reveals how the improved use of 13 medicines across four treatment areas – stroke prevention, kidney disease, asthma and type 2 diabetes – can transform patient care, while adding £5 billion to the UK economy through increased productivity over patients’ lifetimes.

The data shows that an estimated 1.2 million additional NHS patients are currently eligible for these medicines but are missing out on them.

Extending the use of these medicines would provide patients with over 429,000 additional years living in good health (QALYs), while £17.9bn in productivity gains is expected to accrue within the UK economy.

Richard Torbett, CEO of ABPI, commented: 

“The pandemic has starkly highlighted the relationship between the health of the population and the health of the economy. Medicines and vaccines are playing a vital role in getting us all back to work.

“This report shows how we can use the experience from COVID-19 to prevent and treat other diseases which create a drag on the economy. The evidence is clear; providing patients with the medicines they are eligible for will help people live longer, healthier lives, while growing the economy and increasing tax receipts for the government.

“Investment in medicines is already creating more efficient and effective health services in countries around the world, resulting in better health outcomes and improved survival rates. We should be striving for the same,” he added.

The UK clearly has the potential to be a world leader in life sciences if innovation is used to drive the sector. The coronavirus pandemic showed how public health outcomes can be rapidly improved through innovative practices and alignment of stakeholders. The NHS Innovation and Life Sciences Commission is seeking to produce implementable solutions to allow the UK to achieve this.

Final thought

The data published by PwC shows the detrimental impact on patients when the UK continues to perform below its potential in life sciences. Increased investment into the development of treatments and establishing innovation across the board would help millions across the UK – improving health outcomes and reducing socio-economic and ethnic health inequalities.

As time goes on, the UK will see if the brief period of alignment and innovation is an anomaly or something to be built upon. What is clear, however, is the Government has a responsibility to millions of patients who are waiting on the sector to improve and achieve its potential.


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