Supplementary evidence by the Association
of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (PI 35A)
As requested at the pharmaceutical industry's
oral evidence session on the 13 January, the ABPI would like to
submit additional evidence in response to specific questions raised.
The additional evidence is focused on the following
(1) Statistics regarding chemistry teaching
in schools and higher education, the basis of our concern with
regard to the supply of key skills to the bio-pharmaceutical sector.
(2) The comparative cost of clinical trials
in the UK, an area where we need to be globally competitive.
(3) Pharmaceutical industry employment figures,
focused on the issues raised by the Committeethe balance
between R & D and sales resources.
Chemistry in SchoolsGCSE Level
About 81% of students take a "double science"
GCSEstudying biology, chemistry and physics. Some teachers
and HE lecturers argue that this does not provide a suitable basis
on which to study A-levels in science. About 11% of students follow
only a single science course which is not regarded as a sufficient
basis for going on to study any science subject at A-level.
Fewer than 10% of students study two or three
separate science subjects at GCSE, with only 7.9% taking Chemistry
GCSE in 20041.
Chemistry in SchoolsA level
Both the number of entries in chemistry and
the percentage of students have dropped in recent years. Just
over 20 years ago, the number taking A-level chemistry was 47,792
but by 2004 had dropped to 37,254 (4.9% of total A level entries).
The number of teachers employed to teach chemistry
alone in secondary schools has more than halved since 1984. The
vast majority of science teachers are also expected to teach biology
and physics as part of a "combined" science course.
It is calculated that approximately 8350 chemistry
teachers are required to cover teaching at GCSE and A-level, whereas
only 4,680 teachers in maintained schools have a degree, PGCE
or BEd in chemistry. The estimated shortfall of 3,670 teachers
must mean that large numbers of students are being taught chemistry
by teachers without a qualification in the subject.2.
Chemistry in Higher Education
Applications from UK students to study chemistry
have been declining steadily over the past 10 years and the total
number of graduates in chemistry has decreased from 4,144 in 1996
to 2,955 in 2003.
In the past 18 months, Kings College and Queen
Mary in London, Swansea, Exeter and Anglia Polytechnic University
have announced closure of their chemistry departments. Others
are known to be contemplating closure. In addition, De Montford
University, Leicester admitted its last intake of students in
2002. A major factor in this trend is that if the chemistry department
has a Research Assessment rating (RAE) below 5, then funding provided
by the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) to support research
infrastructure is significantly reduced. At Exeter, the Vice Chancellor
was reported to have said that the income per member of staff
in the chemistry and biology departments was £20,900 per
year, whereas in physics it was £46,200 per year.
In addition, the decision by HEFCE to reduce
the funding multiplier paid to universities to support teaching
in laboratory-based subjects has been reduced from twice the amount
given for lecture based subjects to 1.7 times.
The pharmaceutical industry generally recruits
graduates who have completed an MChem or MSci in the chemical
sciences for their chemistry research and development departments.
In 2002, there were 1150 such graduates3. The geographical distribution
of these courses is not uniform. In 2003, whereas 10 universities
in the Midlands offered MChem/MSci courses in chemical sciences,
in Eastern Counties and the South, only two did4. With the recently
announced closure of Swansea's chemistry department, Wales will
also only have two institutions offering these courses.
BPI does not believe that allowing these random
decisions to close chemistry departments, which result in large
areas of the country with no high quality chemistry department,
is in the national interest. We would welcome recommendations
from the Committee to reverse this trend.
A policy is required, driven by Government and
by HEFCE, that will lead to co-operation between universities
to ensure an adequate supply of chemistry teachers, courses and
graduates, in which regional needs are met within a national framework.
COST OF CONDUCTING CLINICAL TRIALS IN THE
UK AND ELSEWHERE
The costs of phase II-III clinical research
in the UK have increased since 1995, and significantly exceed
those in competitor countries, although the rate of growth may
now be slowing.
The following slides illustrate the average
yearly cost increase for conducting clinical research in the UK,
as well as comparative costs of Phase II-III studies across all
therapeutic areas for selected European countries.
It will be clear from the above data that the
UK is the most expensive country in Europe in which to conduct
trials, and that overhead allocation is a major factor. The ABPI
is calling for:
Transparency in the pricing of general
Elimination of charges for standard
The NHS to comply with NHS costing
initiatives (due to be launched 28 February 2005).
We would welcome recommendations from the Committee
to ensure our continuing global competitiveness.
EMPLOYMENT WITHIN THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY
In the Committee's deliberations it was frequently
stated or implied that the UK industry employs more people in
selling than in researching and producing medicines. The opposite
is the case. The most recent employment figure (2003) we have
for the industry is 73,000. Of this figure, 29,000 work in R&D,
and 20,000 are involved in the manufacturing process. By contrast,
the industry has 8,000 medical representatives. The remaining
16,000 people perform a variety of functions including corporate
affairs, finance, marketing, and human resources. Even adding
a proportion of the figure for marketing to the number for sales
representatives, this element of the workforce is substantially
exceeded by scientific and technical personnel.
15 February 2005