Lisa Anson, Country President of AstraZeneca UK

Lisa Anson, Country President of AstraZeneca UK

Enhancing the reputation of the pharmaceutical industry, improving access to innovative medicines for NHS patients and ensuring a UK environment that enables the Life Sciences industry to thrive are the three key priorities for Lisa Anson as she begins her 2-year Presidency of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

The AstraZeneca UK Country President formally took over the role from John Kearney of Amgen at the Annual ABPI Conference in April.

Setting out her bold and ambitious mindset, Anson told delegates that the industry needed to do much more to highlight its value to patients and the UK economy. She said it should be prepared to call out poor behaviour by the few, which causes irreparable damage to the entire industry.

Speaking at the Conference, ABPI President, Lisa Anson, said: “Our reputation is vitally important. Whereas government, the NHS and patient groups all recognise the important steps taken in recent years to improve transparency in our sector, we must now build on that work.”

“We should do much more to highlight the value of our industry to the future productivity of the NHS and to UK plc. We must also be prepared to call out poor behaviour and separate ourselves from profiteering. This does irreparable damage to our industry reputation and the trust we seek to promote.”

Anson also said she will also focus on improving NHS patient access to innovative, life-changing medicines.

Noting that the NHS is one of the most cost-effective health services in the world, she highlighted that the UK is sixth lowest out of the G7 nations for investment in healthcare [see ABPI manifesto]. The UK spends 9.9% of Gross Domestic Product on healthcare, with only Italy spending less. Anson argues that this shows a lack of ambition to improve UK patient health outcomes.

Anson said: “I’m passionate about seeing tangible improvements in patient access to innovative, cost-effective medicines. Industry, government and the NHS need to partner on a streamlined system of medicines access that values innovation and holds the NHS and industry to account for improving patient outcomes.”

Anson’s third priority is to create an environment that ensures UK life sciences can thrive through an effective Industrial Strategy and is open to making the most of the new opportunities created by Brexit.

She joins the ABPI at a critical time as it focuses on representing its members in negotiations to help shape the future of the sector outside of the EU and works with government to develop a Life Science strategy which puts the industry as a key strategic partner in the government’s future economic plans.

ABPI’s Chief Executive, Mike Thompson, said: “Lisa’s knowledge and experience will be valuable as we head into one of the industry’s most challenging eras to date. Lisa will play a leading role as we negotiate the future of our industry outside of the European Union, look to secure and industrial strategy that cements the UK’s position as a leading global hub for life sciences and deliver world class healthcare to the NHS through better use of innovative medicines.”