Head of R&D, Glaxo 1987-93
Chief Executive, Glaxo 1993-1997
Glaxo 1997-2002 (GlaxoSmithKline from 2000, non-executive from 2001)
Imperial College, London 2001-2008
The Royal Institution, 2010-
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
Sir Richard Sykes’ points about graduates and research in the NHS mirror
Barbara’s analysis in
Barbara’s healthcare campaigns are listed here