The 2017 Industrial Strategy White Paper is the UK Government’s plan to boost productivity. The pharmaceutical industry was recognised as a key sector.              

Read our response to the Government’s industrial strategy. 

As a key sector, Professor Sir John Bell was asked to present to Government a Life Sciences Industrial Strategy.  


The report, is written by Life Science’s Champion Professor Sir John Bell, in collaboration with industry, academia, charity, and research organisations.

The report is organised into 7 themes:

  1. Health Advanced Research Programme (HARP) proposal
  2. reinforcing the UK science offer
  3. growth and infrastructure
  4. NHS collaboration
  5. data
  6. skills
  7. regulation

Sir John Bell was commissioned by government to put forward proposals for a sector deal in the Industrial Strategy green paper. 


The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy includes recommendations on how the Government can maintain the UK's existing strength in life sciences and increase the pace of economic growth in this sector. 

Its key recommendations include: 

  • Sustaining and increasing funding for basic science to match international competition
  • Ensuring the fiscal environment (including tax credits, grants, loans and capital allowances) supports growth and attracts manufacturing investment
  • Adopting the Accelerated Access Review to secure faster patient access to innovative new treatments and technologies

Setting an ambition for the UK to be in the top quartile of comparable countries when it comes to the patients getting the most innovative medicines  

  • Improving the collection of health data
  • Developing and delivering a skills action plan, including a migration system that allows for the recruitment and retention of highly skilled workers

The ABPI was a member of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Board and helped to develop this Strategy. 

As a result of these, the Government published a sector deal  to help ensure new pioneering treatments and medical technologies are produced in the UK, improving patient lives and driving economic growth.  

The pharmaceutical sector's contribution to the UK economy 

PwC published a new report in March 2017, The economic contribution of the UK Life Science industry, to determine the value added to the UK economy by the life sciences sector.  

The UK biopharmaceutical industry has: 

  • Over 62,000 employees
  • The highest productivity of any high technology sector (over £330,000 GVA per employee)
  • Exports worth £30 billion
  • More research and development spending in the UK than any other sector (£4 billion per annum)