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Pharmaceutical Expert Advisory Panel says Brexit negotiations must protect UK pharmaceutical industry

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Courtesy of Christine Bond

Christine Bond, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Pharmaceutical Science Expert Advisory Panel, wants the UK to invest more in scientific education and training

Brexit must be negotiated in a way that guarantees UK pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries access to European markets, a paper released by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Pharmaceutical Science Expert Advisory Panel (PSEAP) has warned.

Developing the Pharmaceutical Science Workforce states that due to the “rapidly increasing cost and complexity of research […] collaboration with colleagues both within and beyond the EU has become more important”, and adds that “current scientists and researchers, together with those EU nationals who come to work in the UK prior to departure from the EU, should have the right to remain for the duration of their existing contracts or courses under the same conditions as before”.

The paper shares the PSEAP’s views and recommendations on education and workforce development within the sector. The panel recommends that the Industrial Strategy Fund should be used to support more PhDs in pharmaceutical science, stating that “UK investment in research and development is, at 1.7% of GDP, well below the OECD average of 2.38%”.

More focus on core science within the MPharm is another key issue. The degree, the paper says, has been “restructured in recent years to prepare students for emerging clinical patient-facing roles”, resulting in “increased pressure on the time and teaching resource available for the underpinning sciences”. The PSEAP wants the MPharm to prepare students for a research career as well as a clinical one, and will be taking this recommendation to the GPhC.

Christine Bond, chair of the PSEAP, said: “We hope that this thought leadership will encourage support for and investment in scientific education and training to ensure a highly skilled and adaptive pharmaceutical science workforce.

“We are asking for the General Pharmaceutical Council to receive advice on what the science content of the MPharm curriculum should be and input to the revision of the initial education and training standards for pharmacists; increased funding of PhDs, post-doctoral posts and fellowships in pharmaceutical science, and the gaps in the skills base for Qualified Persons and in pharmacy formulation to be addressed utilising the pharmacist and pharmaceutical science workforces.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203870

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