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November 02, 2016
Pharma companies will leave the UK unless the government and the NHS start to pay for breakthrough drugs, AstraZeneca’s Mene Pangalos told The Telegraph yesterday. “It's depressing and demoralising that our latest drugs that are discovered here are not being used in the UK,” said Dr Pangalos, executive vice-president of AZ’s innovative medicines and early development biotech unit. “If it continues to be difficult and the healthcare system does not adopt the most important innovations that are becoming standards of care in other countries, clinical trials will reduce as the quality of the research available falls and the UK will become obsolete. Companies will leave and others will not come to the UK to invest.” Panagos believes the UK government should spend more money on breakthrough medications and change the way NICE assesses cancer treatments in particular. While Britain still attracts investment from pharma companies because of the high levels of academic research and good tax incentives, this position will likely be eroded by leaving the EU (and consequently the European Medicines Agency). “The UK would not be a big enough market to be a priority for us in that case,” Dr Pangalos said. “As a drugs market it is more important for us to launch in France, Germany and Sweden than in the UK because they adopt and pay for the drugs... The UK is a challenge now but without the EU [it] will get left behind if it doesn’t start to change the way it reimburses drugs.” Click here for The Telegraph article.