The U.K. government has made progress toward most of the 13 goals of its Strategy for U.K. Life Sciences, but much work remains to be done if the United Kingdom is to fulfill its goal of global life sciences leadership, according to an appraisal report released today by four industry groups.

The strategy was reviewed by the U.K.’s four leading human healthcare trade associations within LifeSciencesUK—the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the BioIndustry Association (BIA) and the British In Vitro Diagnostic Association (BIVDA).

The appraisal said significant progress had been achieved toward four goals articulated in the strategy—a Biomedical Catalyst, a Cell Therapy Catapult, a Clinical Practice Datalink (CPRD), and a National Biologics Manufacturing Center (NBMC). The Biomedical Catalyst and Clinical Practice Research Datalink have improved opportunities for collaboration between individuals and organizations across the NHS, academia, industry, and the voluntary sector, the report found.

On the other hand, the appraisal said, the government has been inconsistent in implementing five of the strategy goals. These include:

  • Aligning financial, operational, and performance incentives. Progress has lagged toward carrying out fundamental review of the various financial, operational and performance incentives, with the aim of aligning them to support the adoption and diffusion of new technologies, for example, by breaking down “silo budgeting” and accelerating payment coverage for innovative medical technologies and approaches.
  • Carrying out the Earlier Access to Medicines Scheme. The scheme was designed to facilitate patient access to medicines, up to a year before marketing authorization for selected medicines, where there is high unmet medical need.
  • NHS Innovation Scorecard. While four editions have been published since January 2013, it falls short of industry aims, and does not include new therapies newly appaised by NICE.
  • Procurement reforms. A review focused heavily on supply-side factors and cost-saving measures, featuring very little on driving innovation
  • Failing to implement the Specialised Services Commissioning Innovation Fund (SSCIF). The fund was designed to help NHS England better understand the cost and impact of innovations and create a robust evidence base for use in national commissioning decisions.

The appraisal was neutral on the progress made toward four additional strategy goals—developing Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs); improving the NHS management of clinical trials; improving a NICE Implementation Collaborative (NIC); and transparency in local formularies.

“The role of the AHSNs as a catalyst for the spread of innovation should be strengthened by committing to funding for five years,” Peter Ellingworth, chief executive of the ABHI, said in a statement.

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