Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

UK life sciences bodies collaborate on coronavirus

Out-Law News | 08 Apr 2020 | 3:42 pm | 1 min. read

A landmark agreement between life sciences trade bodies in the UK shows the "sense of responsibility" felt by the whole industry to help the country overcome the challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis, an expert has said.

The Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI), the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA), the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA), and the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA) have committed to work together to achieve three central aims – delivering medicines and health technology to fight coronavirus; prioritising the supply of diagnostics, medicines and health technologies for NHS patients; and supporting NHS service delivery.

"As part of the health community, the life sciences sector in the UK wants to play as big a role as possible in tackling Covid-19 – both in the search for effective diagnostics and treatments and by supporting patients, the NHS and government across the UK," the trade bodies said in a joint statement. "Our companies have the experience, knowledge and facilities to provide support across healthcare if they work together during this crisis."

Nicole Jadeja of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, welcomed the agreement, which was signed by the chief executives of the five bodies earlier this week.

Jadeja Nicole_November 2019

Nicole Jadeja

Partner

The UK has a flourishing life sciences industry, the diversity of which ultimately drives its success in delivering benefits to patients, and will play a crucial role in these challenging times

"In these unprecedented times, we are seeing unprecedented levels of collaboration between the diverse range of players in the life sciences ecosystem," Jadeja said. "This statement of intent reflects that. It brings together UK associations representing medical device and diagnostic manufacturers, biotechs, innovators and generics, and is indicative of the serious commitment and sense of responsibility of many of the associations’ member companies to successfully navigate this crisis."

"The UK has a flourishing life sciences industry, the diversity of which ultimately drives its success in delivering benefits to patients, and will play a crucial role in these challenging times," she said.

According to the statement of intent, the bodies have agreed to prioritise research and development of Covid-19-related diagnostics, treatments, health technologies and vaccines. They have also agreed to help encourage intelligence sharing to "support patient testing and therapeutics" and "identify and support companies to facilitate testing for Covid-19".

The bodies also said work is ongoing to address the logistical and supply chain issues arising in the sector at the moment.

"We are prioritising getting medicines and health technologies to NHS patients, working to mitigate any impact that global supply chain, manufacturing and transport disruption may have on the availability of medicines and health technologies, including for clinical study and research activities," they said.

The bodies also said they will support people working in life sciences to volunteer to help with NHS service delivery "where most needed", and will look to bolster existing NHS capacity for Covid-19 testing and diagnostics too.