Press Release

Published: 10 May 2023

The UK Life Sciences sector is at a turning point. Now is the time to commit to its future.

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Contact: Dominic Parker, Senior Communications and Media Manager | 020 7290 9882 | +44 7500 115352

BritishAmerican Business (BAB), in partnership with MSD, has today launched a new White Paper, which calls for a stronger life sciences policy ecosystem that can sustain the UK’s position as a leading global player in life sciences.

For many years, the life sciences sector has been a success story for the UK. Its global competitive edge has had solid foundations: a supportive policy framework, world class talent, scientific excellence and a unified health care system. These foundations, however, are starting to weaken and the sector needs the UK government to take immediate action to ensure its long-term success.

BAB’s White Paper puts forward a set of recommendations that will support the UK’s position as a leading global player in the field; attract investment from transatlantic companies; and help people access medicines, prevent disease and live longer, healthier lives.

The report recommends that the UK Government focus its efforts on three areas.

Commercial environment

Government, industry and the NHS need to achieve a successor voluntary pricing scheme which restores a competitive commercial environment; supports clinical research and R&D; ensures rapid patient access and uptake of new medicines, improves population health through innovation and boosts economic growth.

The UK must provide a tax framework that encourages innovation; invest in the workforce, including incentives for skills, training and upskilling programmes and shorten visa processing times for skilled workers in the sector. The UK needs to support SMEs on their scale-up journey through access to finance or targeted investment.

Clinical trials

Regulators and government, working closely with the sector, must urgently reform the clinical trials ecosystem and ensure a shorter, streamlined set-up and approvals process.

The NHS must prioritise and resource research to ensure clinical trials remain an essential part of the life sciences ecosystem, bringing benefits to patients, the NHS and the economy.

Trade and intellectual property

The UK needs to pursue a global trade agenda that delivers for industry and maintains a high standard of IP protection and fosters innovation.

The UK should oppose any further expansion of the TRIPS waiver to include Covid-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.

There needs to be a more unified approach to promoting the sector globally and in encouraging inward investment.

Commenting on the release of the paper, BritishAmerican Business CEO Duncan Edwards said: 

“The future of the UK life sciences sector is at stake and never has the industry faced such an important inflection point. The benefits of a thriving life sciences industry in the UK are immense and can lead to better health outcomes and strong economic growth. The UK is in desperate need of both.

“Yet, with an increasingly unfavourable commercial environment and a decline in clinical trial activity, the UK is risking its competitive advantage in the sector as other countries vie for future life sciences investment.

“Delivering on the recommendations outlined in this report will go a long way to ensuring the UK restores its competitive edge in the life sciences sector. BritishAmerican Business stands ready to support the UK government as it implements its ‘UK Life Sciences Vision’ to deliver for patients, business and the wider UK economy.”

Managing Director for MSD in the UK & Ireland, Ben Lucas said:

“We are delighted to have partnered with BritishAmerican Business on such an important report for the UK life sciences sector at what is a critical time for action, to ensure full delivery of the Life Sciences Vision and a stable commercial environment.

“The UK can grow a thriving life sciences ecosystem and remain a global competitive investment destination for decades to come. For that to happen, we need focused, collaborative action to address the challenges highlighted by this report, to instil confidence to invest and crucially to enable us to bring the benefits of innovation to UK patients swiftly, now and in the future.”

About BritishAmerican Business

BritishAmerican Business is the leading transatlantic trade association incorporating the British-American Chamber of Commerce in the US and the American Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

We are committed to strengthening the economic corridor between the United States and the United Kingdom by supporting policies and actions that protect and enhance the environment for transatlantic trade and investment on behalf of our members.

We convene and serve a growing network of companies and business leaders through networking opportunities, bespoke programming and marketing platforms.

We actively promote trade and investment and support those who make the transatlantic corridor part of their business growth ambition.


About MSD

At MSD, known as Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ, USA in the United States and Canada, we are unified around our purpose: We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than 130 years, we have brought hope to humanity through the development of important medicines and vaccines. We aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world – and today, we are at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions that advance the prevention and treatment of diseases in people and animals. We foster a diverse and inclusive global workforce and operate responsibly every day to enable a safe, sustainable and healthy future for all people and communities. For more information, visit