With 372 attendees, 99 speakers, 31 sponsors and 14 channel partners in one place, Pharma Integrates 2017 was always going to be a busy — and noisy — affair, and it didn’t disappoint. In the run up to the event, Maya Zlatanova of FindMeCure posted: “Looking forward to meeting some interesting people and exchanging views about accelerating the drug development process by using technology and industry’s best practices.” Andrew Whittamore of Asthma UK added: “I’m looking forward to hearing about the future direction of drug development and access, the use of technology in healthcare and opportunities for partnership working, especially regarding the patient experience.” The stage was set!
Giving the opening presentation, Lisa Anson, President, AstraZeneca UK and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), set the scene: “The business of discovering and developing medicines has never been more exciting,” she said, adding: “Globally, there are more than 7000 new medicines in development. The advanced use of patient data, real world-evidence and new technologies such as artificial intelligence and advanced analytics are helping to increase the pace of research and development, delivering medical breakthroughs and improving patient outcomes.”
“We should be proud,” she continued: “We are a great British success story, attracting investment and talent, thousands of skilled jobs and changing the lives of patients in every corner of the UK.” Yet, it’s not all good news. There is a growing body of evidence, including government data, showing that the UK lags behind similar nations in terms of patient health outcomes and access to medicines. UK patients are five times less likely to get the newest cost-effective medicines compared with patients in other EU countries, such as Germany or France. “Of the 7000 compounds in development, not all will make it … but all will help to improve patient outcomes,” she said: “However, industry must address the longstanding issues of patient access to medicines.”