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by Alison Culpan, ABPI Scotland
12 October 2022
Associate Feature: Moment of truth for the life sciences

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Associate Feature: Moment of truth for the life sciences

Innovation in the life sciences sector is vital for patients, the NHS and the economy in Scotland. The sector includes firms specialising in pharmaceutical services, medical technology, and those working on stem cells and regenerative medicine. It delivers real benefits to Scotland including access to the newest treatments and more efficient delivery of cutting-edge treatments.  

The ABPI commissioned report, Life Sciences Superpower, shows the opportunities that investment in life sciences can bring to patients but it also highlights the current challenges being faced by the sector and the need to raise our game if we are to emulate the successes of leading EU countries.

For example, the number of clinical trials in Scotland is falling, with the pandemic exasperating this downward trend. This has impacted on innovation in the sector. Improving our share of global commercial clinical trial enrolment to levels consistent with leading countries, like Spain, could see additional revenues and additional savings for the NHS in Scotland annually. Not only this, but increased clinical trials in Scotland will also directly benefit patients here too.

Scotland has the potential to be a world-leading hub for medicines development and discovery, but action is needed to support the life science sector if we are to achieve this ambition.  

In her address to the National Innovation event, the First Minister restated the Scottish Government’s commitment to the sector and underlined the importance of innovation to NHS recovery. As a sector that already provides around 48,000 jobs in Scotland, life sciences could also be key to helping deliver Scotland’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation and the upcoming Innovation Strategy. However, we need to see Scottish Government take a strong leadership role and provide investment and policies that address the challenges facing the sector. With the right support, the life sciences sector could help Scotland to reach its economic and innovation potential. 

Alison Culpan is Scotland Director, ABPI

This article is sponsored by ABPI

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