BIA Parliament Day 2019
Peter Wasson, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the BIA, gives his thoughts on the BIA's Parliament Day 2019
This year marked our 19th Annual Parliament Day event, which brings BIA members from across the sector to meet with parliamentarians, senior NHS leaders and civil servants from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and HM Treasury. As our flagship influencing event, Parliament Day facilitates important interactions between BIA members and policymakers across Westminster and Whitehall.
We had just over 30 biotech companies join us on 11 July and 17 meetings throughout the day, including:
- Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England
- Caroline Nokes MP, Minister of State for Immigration
- Sir Norman Lamb MP, Chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee
- Sam Roberts, Director of the Accelerated Access Collaborative
- Ian Campbell, Chief Executive, Innovate UK
We were also kindly joined by Lord O’Shaughnessy the former life sciences minister for a networking lunch in the House of Lords, during which he spoke about the importance of the life sciences sector to the UK economy and to delivering innovative and life changing medicines for patients.
Caption: (from left to right) Lord O'Shaughnessy, BIA Chair Dr Jane Osbourn OBE and BIA CEO Steve Bates OBE
Influence is one of the three key missions of the BIA and Parliament Day is the biggest event we hold to deliver on that mission for our members. It is an opportunity to highlight the key concerns and needs of our sector to policy makers. This year, our messages focused on:
- The importance of the UK biotech sector to the UK economy and building on past effective investment into the sector to maintain the UK’s competitive advantage.
- The ultimate purpose of the UK’s life sciences sector is for patients to have access to lifesaving or life-enhancing new medicines. The UK needs to review how medicines – particularly those for rare diseases – are assessed to ensure that patients are able to access them.
- The UK’s future relationship with the EU; this will be important irrespective of whether a deal is agreed as there remains much uncertainty in the short and long term. A no-deal Brexit will adversely impact patients, public health and the UK sector.
The meetings this year provided an important opportunity for our members to speak directly to decision makers, often providing a perspective and knowledge that they have limited access to. This is particularly crucial in a time of great political change that we are facing.
We are currently continuing to follow up with the stakeholder we met to reinforce our key messages and to highlight the value our sector provides to UK health and wealth.
Thank you to all our members who attended the day and helped deliver our key messages on behalf of the whole sector. It is the involvement of and support our members support that make Parliament Day the high-impact event that it is.