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Conservatives pledge to invest in preventing and curing disease in election manifesto

Published on 26/11/19 at 09:54am

Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched the Conservative Party’s manifesto on Sunday, promising to invest more into research to prevent and cure diseases such as cancer and dementia.

The manifesto states it will improve ‘‘the early diagnosis and treatment of all major conditions’’ and the party will be ‘‘developing new treatments for serious disease.’’ Specifically, they plan to double the funding for research into dementia.

The Conservatives are pledging an extra £83 million a year for dementia research, which would be spent on increasing the number of clinical researchers and academics studying the disease.

The Conservatives also want to extend the ‘‘successful’’ Cancer Drugs Fund into an Innovative Medicines Fund. This would provide £500 million to give patients quicker access to the most cutting-edge medicines for cancer and other diseases.

Responding to the Manifesto promises, Mike Thompson, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) trade body, said: ‘‘This manifesto puts forward an ambitious agenda to strengthen our position and make sure NHS patients can get breakthrough medicines faster.’’

Sheuli Porkess, Executive Director of Research, Medical and Innovation at the ABPI, praised the commitment to dementia funding: ‘‘The UK is a global leader in research, and the announcement of a ‘Dementia Moonshot’ with significant public sector funding will also encourage further private investment, which will generate valuable jobs and growth in life science.’’

However, critics of the manifesto have outlined how there has been little detail provided of the Conservatives’ larger spending estimates. They also highlight the controversy around the Cancer Drugs Fund, which critics say has allowed manufacturers to sell their drugs to the NHS at unrealistic prices and the capital used to invest in this fund should be made available to the wider NHS.

Conor Kavanagh

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