Source : 'Generics Bulletin'
In a ‘Life Sciences Recovery Roadmap’ submitted by the British Generic Manufacturers Association – along with multiple other trade bodies representing the life sciences sector – to the UK government, a way ahead has been recommended that may help navigate “towards recovery and building a new partnership between the life sciences sector, the UK government and the National Health Service.”
The plan focuses on reducing the NHS backlog and restarting priority long-term plan diagnosis and treatment pathways paused due to COVID-19, as well as restoring standards of care which were initially modified to address coronavirus infection risk.
Calling for industry support, in order to “lock in” positive changes in clinical practice – for example, the use of digital health technologies – the plan also recommends that the NHS should retain and enhance positive changes which will improve “system resilience to meet future pandemic surges without compromising other disease outcomes or impacting delivery of the long-term plan.”
The BGMA said that “the COVID-19 crisis has powerfully demonstrated the strategic importance of the life science sector to the UK’s health, security, and to the economy.”
The recovery roadmap suggests developing a comprehensive strategy to improve UK manufacturing capability and supply chain resilience in medicines, medical devices and diagnostics.
With many countries now looking towards their own individual resilience plans and capacity, the paper urges the UK government to consider the core manufacturing competencies and capabilities it requires to support the NHS during any future pandemics.
The roadmap states that the government should have “a flexible and expert capacity in the UK that can be repurposed at pace if required,” and that this capacity “must have a formal trigger mechanism and must meet international medical certification standards.”
Where international co-operation is required, the roadmap suggests considering key supply chains and jurisdiction, to ensure a robust flow of raw materials and components.
While the scientific and research community in the UK has been appreciated for partnering to research and develop new treatments, vaccines and medical technologies against COVID-19, it has been suggested that “powering up the benefits of public and charity spending on medical research and delivering bold policies to incentivize research investment,” should be part of the road to recovery.
Accelerating deployment of new and existing treatments and technologies where there are system and patient benefits, has been suggested. On a similar line, transforming the UK’s clinical research processes and taking an innovative approach to regulation has also been suggested.
Suggesting developing a clear national strategy for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics, the life sciences COVID-19 response group – which was established in March 2020 and is co-chaired by Lord Bethell and member of parliament Nadhim Zahawi – emphasized that the life sciences sector would play a critical role “in the manufacture and distribution of any COVID-19 vaccine that is developed.”
By Akriti Seth