Companies have traditionally invested in the UK because of the quality of skilled graduates and postgraduates, this has led to the UK being at the forefront of research and development for new medicines. Did you know, for example, that close to one in five of the world’s top medicines were discovered and developed in Britain – more than any other country other than the USA, and as much as the rest of Europe combined.
The UK pharmaceutical industry remains committed to this success, by investing over £12.5million every day in R&D, accounting for one quarter of all UK industrial research and development. However, around one fifth of the UK's population has a chronic or long-term illness, and in people over 75 this ratio rises to more than half. So, although we're certainly achieving great things, there's still a lot of work to be done.
Developing, manufacturing and marketing medicines is always a team effort, combining many individual talents. Doctors need to be aware of new developments, thus open, accurate information and marketing is very important. Across the whole process, efficiency is also crucial if we're to keep medicines affordable to everyone who needs them – the fact that the cost of modern medicines to the NHS takes a much lower share of the NHS budget than ten years ago, shows our success here. And, naturally, speed is of the essence if we're to deliver new treatments to patients who urgently need them.
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I have been involved in two projects where compounds have progressed to clinical trials.