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A government report on the life sciences sector has found that the UK is falling behind in various measures compared to other countries.

The eighth annual Life Sciences Competitiveness Indicators report, a suite of metrics demonstrating the UK’s performance in the life sciences sector and its position in global rankings, shows that the UK is further down the rankings in regards to the use of diagnostics, patient uptake of new medicines, recruitment to clinical trials and pharmaceutical exports.

Reacting to the report, Richard Torbett, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said: “Today’s data ought to ring alarm bells across Government. While we’ve got great strengths and enormous potential to grow life sciences in this country, we are falling behind our global competitors when it comes to crucial areas like the use of diagnostics, patient uptake of new medicines, recruitment to clinical trials and pharmaceutical exports.”

According to the report, the approval of medicines in England and Scotland takes longer compared to countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, which were able to approve more innovative medicines in 2020 and took a shorter time to do.

The UK also scored poorly on the number of CT, MRI and PET scanners per million population, coming at the bottom of the table of 16 countries, ninth out of 20 for pharmaceutical exports, and tenth out of 20 for technology exports.

“It is critical that under a new Prime Minister, ministers across government take an urgent look at how to reverse these trends and ensure that the life sciences sector is in a position to drive the UK’s economic recovery,” Torbett added.

The report does however show that the UK’s spending on life sciences research and development accounted for 0.12 per cent of GDP and ranked third among the top 15 industrialised nations, behind only the US and Japan.

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