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Bellwether Industry’s Confidence In UK Slumps – ABPI/CBI Survey

LONDON, March 20, 2008 - A key strategic industry for the UK, the pharmaceutical sector, has lost confidence in the country as a place to do business to an alarming degree, according to research published jointly by and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

In a survey of more than 100 UK-based pharmaceutical companies, three-quarters had little confidence in the current environment. And, while a meagre one per cent expect it to improve, a staggering 83 per cent expect it to deteriorate.

Other key points that emerged from the survey, conducted by research company ComRes, include:
  • More than a third of companies (35 per cent) were expecting to reduce the level of investment in research and development, currently standing at nearly £4 billion a year.
  • Investment in assets such as buildings, equipment, etc is expected to decline by a similar amount (36 per cent).
  • The number of UK clinical trials is expected to drop at nearly half (46 per cent) of companies.
  • The level of manufacturing is forecast to drop by 42 per cent of those surveyed.
  • And almost all the companies surveyed – 97 per cent - said there is now an increasing level of uncertainty within the UK pharmaceutical market environment.

ABPI President Nigel Brooksby said: “Stability is essential for business confidence and investment, and the UK market has long been a springboard for international success for many global companies in the pharmaceutical sector.

“But the UK now uses fewer innovative medicines than the rest of Europe, and the Government has broken the five-year agreement on pricing, made in 2005 – an agreement that provided that very stability on which our success largely depends.

“We must work together urgently to restore business trust and planning stability, so that the UK can return to providing an environment where global companies have the confidence to invest.”

John Cridland, CBI Deputy Director General said: “The pharmaceutical sector is one of the UK’s flagship industries. It directly employs some 70,000 people, is the UK’s leading exporter and accounts for a quarter of all UK industrial research and development.

“The industry is a bellwether for the UK’s ability to thrive as a value-added economy in a globalised world, and its lack of confidence in the UK business environment should be of deep concern to the government. The sector needs to be carefully nurtured and its contribution to the UK economy must not be jeopardised.”

For further information, please contact:
Richard Ley, ABPI (office) 020 7747 1410 (mobile) 07715 169727
CBI: Press Office 020 7395 8239 (out of hours pager) 07623 977854

Posted: March 2008