President, ABPI (The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry)
Industry is well placed to help the NHS recover from the pandemic for the benefit of all patients.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed all of our personal and working lives, but the good news on vaccines recently gives a sense of cautious optimism that science will win in the end.
Although there’s a lot more work to do, in the meantime, we also need to think broadly about how, together as a health and care system, we navigate the long road to COVID-19 recovery.
One of the first challenges we face is getting non-COVID-19 work back up and running again for the benefit of patients.
A study of almost 17,000 people hospitalised with COVID-19 found more than half had at least one comorbidity, the most common of which were chronic cardiac disease.
Helping restart clinical trial research
Restarting clinical trials for conditions like cancer is a priority and progress is being made by both industry and the NHS. According to latest figures from the NIHR, around half of studies are now open once again.
But recovery isn’t just about clinical trials, it’s also about wider care for patients.
Companies are well placed to support the reintroduction of services and the evaluation of innovative changes in practice.
One thing that COVID-19 has taught us is that we have to make better use of diagnostics and data to improve healthcare.
Industry can help with data analysis to improve health outcomes for the people who need it most – a process known as ‘risk stratification’. A study of almost 17,000 people hospitalised with COVID-19 found more than half had at least one comorbidity, the most common of which were chronic cardiac disease (29%), non-asthmatic chronic pulmonary disease (19%) and asthma (14%).1
This kind of insight is essential to be able to treat people effectively for all sorts of conditions and industry is keen to work with the NHS to make sure we have the best data available.
Improved use of high-quality, cost-effective healthcare data presents an opportunity to make the UK the home of data-driven life sciences research, innovation, and development – and in so doing improve outcomes for patients and the NHS.
The pandemic has shown us the important role that the pharmaceutical industry has to play in global healthcare.
Industry can also support across cancer services, diabetes, mental health, vaccinations, and every other area of the NHS Long Term Plan.
But it’s vital that we all work together. We are one, interconnected ecosystem. We were all impacted by this pandemic and we will recover, together.