CEO Update | Monday 5 August

Many of you will have seen the Government announcement last week that the Chancellor Sajid Javid has released an extra £2 billion to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. Out of this, £434 million is earmarked to be spent on medicines and medical products and while this is a significant amount of money, we now need detail of how this money will be spent and whether this is indeed new money.  

We have stressed before that having freight capacity for medicines and medical devices in place on 1 November is fundamentally important for the continued supply of medicines to NHS patients in the case of a no-deal Brexit. With this funding announcement I’m hoping we will see government being more explicit on the planning challenges we face in a no-deal Brexit, such as whether the Government will now be procuring ferries rather than looking simply at ‘options’ for ferries. The BIA also continues to call on  government to provide sector-specific ‘trader readiness’ support for companies, especially smaller companies.

We should be under no illusions that ensuring UK medicines supply in a no-deal Brexit will be easy, but with patients at the end of the supply chains, I know that companies will continue to do all they can to be as prepared as possible for a no-deal scenario. More updates to follow on this as we get them.

Some further news from the Government reshuffle last week, Jo Churchill MP has been made Parliamentary Under Secretary for Public Health. The BIA has engaged with her previously, including at several Parliament Days and a roundtable event at the 2016 Conservative Party conference.

Jo has been a member of a number of relevant All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), including the APPG Life Sciences,  APPG Personalised Medicine and the APPG Cancer.  She chaired the APPG Medical Research, in which capacity she published a blog on the BIA website for Rare Disease Day 2017.

Offices are slightly emptier than usual as people head away on their summer holidays however it would be remiss of me not to fill you in on some key Autumn dates for your diaries.

The BIA will be holding a variety of innovative and popular events, which will explore a whole host of issues and themes from across the life sciences ecosystem.

We look forward to hearing about and discussing a range of important topics across the whole lifecycle of medicine development at our Regulatory and Innovation Conference in September - as we navigate these uncertain and fast changing times. With just over six weeks to go to the conference make sure to get your ticket today!

Our renowned UK Bioscience Forum is the place to hear the latest thought-leadership  within the industry. With inspiring keynote speakers and a choice of panel discussions and parallel tracks, there will be sessions for all types of bioscience companies.

Following the UK Bioscience Forum we will hold our ever-popular Autumn Networking Reception; come along and raise a glass with colleagues from across the sector. If you attend the UK Bioscience Forum, tickets include entry to the Autumn Reception.

We head to Liverpool in November to the stunning St George’s Hall for our 16th Annual bioprocessUK Conference and we’re expecting another sell-out attendance of 300+ delegates from across the biological medicines sector in the UK and globally.

Is it too early to mention 2020? Well for those who like to plan ahead, the BIA’s Gala Dinner will take place on the 23 January when we look forward to returning to the Brewery in central London. Save the date and more information on how to register will be made available in the next few weeks.

Do book your tickets now to avoid disappointment and I look forward to catching up with you at one of our events.