Healthcare Opinion Leaders
Sir Richard Sykes

Global Head of R&D, Glaxo 1987-93

Global Chief Executive, Glaxo 1993-1997

Chairman, Glaxo 1997-2002 (GlaxoSmithKline from 2000, non-executive from 2001)

Rector, Imperial College, London 2001-2008

Chairman, The Royal Institution, 2010-

Quote from Sir Richard Sykes speaking about the pharmaceutical industry in a programme “In Business” with Peter Day (August 2011) on Radio 4 discussing why Pfizer had cut its R&D in the UK.

“The industry in this country started really in the 1960’s when we started to produce sensible drugs. And in those days the Government of the day and always supported by governments after that introduced something called the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme and that was because you’ve got a monopsony in the UK with the NHS, a single buyer. Then the Government would say: ‘If you put research and development facilities in this country then we will allow you to charge a price for your product that gives you that return on the investment into research and development.’ So all the big companies throughout the world came and located in the UK. One reason.

Second reason. We used to produce graduates in the life sciences that were first class. Some of the best in the world came out of the top universities and into work in this industry. All these people coming in. It was a beautiful market.

And the third factor. We had an NHS. We had a test bed for drugs. Again nothing like it anywhere else in the world. And the NHS used to be involved and everyone would work together to develop the compounds.

And all those three things have disappeared.

It has been a centre of excellence for Britain for possibly forty years but the trouble is, like everything else that is a centre of excellence, we undermine it. We don’t like centres of excellence. We try our best to disturb them, destroy them, undermine them and so that’s what’s happening in the case of the life sciences industry.”  


Barbara’s Comments on Above Quote from Sir Richard Sykes

Whilst Sir Richard and Barbara do not share the same views on everything, what he says above strikes a real chord.  He is uniquely qualified in the UK to have made these comments.

Support for the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme. Visit Barbara’s comments on drug pricing in March 2011 and July 2011   .

Sir Richard Sykes’ points about graduates and research in the NHS mirror Barbara’s analysis in February 2011 .

Barbara’s healthcare campaigns are listed here .

Sir Richard Sykes