L-R: Andy Pwrie-Smith, Joe, Nicola Sturgeon, Chris Brinsmead
The continuing success of the Pharmaceuticals sector in Scotland is helping to drive the Scottish economy despite the recession, says Dundee MSP Joe FitzPatrick.
Mr FitzPatrick, who chairs the Cross-Party Group on Life Sciences at the Scottish Parliament, was chairing a key meeting of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries at the SNP Conference in Inverness, at which Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon was guest speaker.
In his opening remarks at the meeting attended by leading pharma-industry executives in Scotland, Mr FitzPatrick said: “Pharmaceuticals, the biggest of the three strand that make up Life Sciences, is now worth £1.34 billion per year to the Scottish Economy and 11,000 jobs.
“This makes it a major player in Scotland where close and early collaboration between the Scottish Government, the NHS and our Universities have led to Scotland becoming a major player on the global stage.
“But we must not be complacent and we are constantly looking over our shoulder at Ireland, Singapore and the USA who are keen to muscle-in on our success.”
Andy Powrie-Smith, the Director of ABPI Scotland said: “In Scotland we have the benefit of several initiatives which are helping to develop the sector. A year ago the First Minister announced the formation of the Life Sciences Advisory Board for Scotland (LiSAB).
“This is co-chaired by the Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon with the involvement of the Scottish Government Ministers for skills and enterprise (Keith Brown and Jim Mather) and clear buy-in from across the Cabinet.
“This is a key factor in helping Scotland to compete hard in world markets.”
Chris Brinsmead, President of the ABPI, who also heads up AstraZenica pharma business in the UK, said:
“Scotland’s not been alone in prioritising Life Sciences. Lots of countries have recognised that getting Life Sciences right is good for both the health of the nation but also its wealth. We’re competing directly with a number of other countries.
“But Scotland has three uniquely Scottish collaborations which we would congratulate the Scottish Government on: The Scottish Medicines Consortium, LiSAB and The Scottish Academic Health Sciences Collaboration. These are helping us to work together to promote the sector.”
Cabinet Secretary Nicola Sturgeon referred in her keynote speech to the excellence of academia in Scotland and the close synergy between Scotland’s Universities and the companies developing vaccines and medicines.
“The Life Sciences sector is also one of the key sectors that we have identified on which Scotland can build a great and sustainable economic future.
“The sector brings together academics and researchers, medicines and vaccines companies and the NHS. One of its great strengths is its people. Our medical universities continue to be world-leading. Our scientists remain on the cutting edge while the staff of NHS Scotland are increasingly playing their part in research and innovation as part of their care for patients. Now, for the first time, the sector is seeing the training of the support staff of the future through the Life Science Apprenticeships scheme.
“This year we have been delighted to create the Scottish Life Sciences Advisory Board, which I co-chair. We are pleased that Ministers have been joined at the table by leading players from the pharmaceutical industry as well as counterparts from universities, biotechnology companies, research organisations, NHSScotland and Scottish Enterprise. The Board is taking forward a collaborative strategy for the sector in Scotland to create the right environment to enable our talent and technology to continue to prosper in the global life sciences marketplace.
“The pharma-related business sector is important to Scotland because of its investment in people, knowledge, research and development, as well as medicines and vaccines manufacture.
Commenting after the meeting, Joe FitzPatrick said: “This was an excellent event and a further example of how in Scotland we can all pull together to get things done. I have a significant constituency interest of course, in that Dundee is a big player in Scottish terms and I am very keen to see Dundee – and Scotland – realise the huge potential of the sector.
“Some of the greatest vaccines the world has ever seen may be in development now and I want to see them developed in Scotland and manufactured here as well. This will bring large numbers of jobs. Of all three strands of Life Sciences, Bio-Tech, Medical technology and Pharmaceuticals, this is potentially the biggest in terms of the jobs it could bring.”