New Life Sciences group launched by Westminster MPs

A new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) aimed at promoting the UK life sciences sector was launched today in Westminster.

APPGs do not have any formal status within the UK Parliament, but bring together Members of Parliament (MPs) from all parties to help promote shared areas of interest.

The new APPG on Life Sciences is chaired by Kit Malthouse MP, and its launch coincides with a new government drive to make the UK a more competitive place for life sciences.

Hosting the event at the Houses of Parliament, he said: “Life sciences is the quintessential high-tech, innovative sector that we should prioritise for the 21st century economy. In addition to its economic impact, at its heart are innovations and therapies that benefit patients and the public.”

George Freeman is the Conservative MP and minister for life sciences who is behind the new Accelerated Access Review, an initiative aimed at finding ways to encourage investment in UK life sciences, and speed access to innovation on the NHS. He commented: “I welcome the establishment of this group which I am sure will continue to build the profile of this sector as the 2015 Parliament gets underway.”

Backing from life sciences groups

The secretariat for the new group will be provided by Life Sciences UK (LSUK) – a coalition of four leading trade associations for the life sciences sector in the UK. These are the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the BioIndustry Association (BIA), and the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA).

“The UK life sciences sector plays a key role in driving investment in science and health research and in developing life-changing medicines and technologies,” stated Alison Clough, acting chief executive of the ABPI.

She added: “The establishment of the APPG provides industry with an essential forum to work with parliamentarians to look at ways to improve the current ‘bench to bedside’ medicine pathway and to ensure that patients are getting access to the latest innovative treatments.”

The Parliamentary officers of the APPG on Life Sciences are:

• Chair: Kit Malthouse MP, Conservative Member for North West Hampshire

• Vice-Chair: The Rt Hon Lord Paul Drayson, Labour Member of the House of Lords

• Vice-Chair: Liz McInnes MP, Labour Member for Heywood and Middleton

• Vice-Chair: Daniel Zeichner MP, Labour Member for Cambridge

• Treasurer: John Glen MP, Conservative Member for Salisbury

• Secretary: Chris Green MP, Conservative Member for Bolton West.

The multi-stakeholder Accelerated Access Review consultation on how to create a ‘lit pathway’ for life sciences innovation in the UK and NHS is now underway. Last week, patients and the general public were invited to contribute via the Review’s website.

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