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UK industry spend on R&D collaborations grows to £377.3 million

Published on 02/07/19 at 12:23pm

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Indusxtry (ABPI) has unveiled new data showed that UK industry investment in R&D collaborations is on the up, with spend increasing to reach £377.3 million in 2018 from £370.9 million the previous year.

The data was provided by Disclosure UK, a database led by the pharma industry which documents benefits and payments made by UK healthcare professionals and organisations. The database was introduced four years ago as part of a wider European initiative in a bid to promote and improve transparency throughout the industry on these collaborations between individual professionals, pharmaceutical firms and organisations.

A total of £508.1 million was disclosed by pharma companies during 2018, up from £499.3 million in 2017; this total figure broke down into the aforementioned £377.3 million figure, plus £130.8 million which was spent on non-R&D collaborations with healthcare professionals or organisations – 83.1% of this latter figure was disclosed against a named person or organisation.

It was also noted that 57.2% of professionals were happy for their received payments to be made public on Disclosure UK, up from 49% in 2017 following the rollout of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The figures are particularly impressive as they come at a time when uncertainty around Brexit has seeped into most industries, forcing a slow-down in terms of investment.

“The continued investment from companies is excellent news at a time of economic uncertainty and signals the strength of the sector in the UK,” remarked Mike Thompson, Chief Executive of the ABPI. “We can’t discover or bring to market new medicines without the expertise of doctors and nurses. It’s vital that companies can collaborate with those people, and that we’re open and transparent about any payments we make to them.


“Everybody working with the pharmaceutical industry should publish the details of their work so that the public can be confident about those relationships and understand the importance of this collaboration towards improved healthcare,” he continued. “We’re moving in the right direction but there’s clearly much more to be done to convince doctors of the importance of being more open about the money they receive.”

Matt Fellows

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