Patients and representatives from across the medical research sector came together (28 November) at the inaugural Patients First Conference, hosted jointly by the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), to explore how medical research can deliver better outcomes for patients.
29 Nov 2016 Posted in By Press Office
Held at the Royal College of Physicians (London), the event brought together over 300 delegates – including patients, charities, industry, research bodies, funders and government – who, with a shared recognition that patients play a vital role in medical research, explored how they can collaborate to put patients first, involving them in research and development through to care and access to treatment, to ultimately deliver them the best outcomes.
Patient Jane Taylor, who is Chair of Patient Insight Group for Arthritis Research UK, opened the conference sharing why it matters to her that her voice is heard in medical research.
Jane Taylor, Chair of Patient Insight Group at Arthritis Research UK, said:
"As a patient who has lived for 30 years with rheumatoid arthritis, I know from my own experience what good medical research can do. However too often research is still done on the patient rather than with the patient. This conference is a recognition that engaging with the patient's lived experience and understanding of the effects of their condition is crucial and a huge resource in getting better health outcomes and more effective treatments for everyone.''
Expert speakers from across the health and research fields took to the stage, including: Nicola Blackwood MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health & Innovation, Department of Health), David Montgomery (Medical Director, Pfizer Oncology UK), Hilary Evans (CEO, Alzheimer's Research UK), Nicola Perrin (Head of Policy, Wellcome Trust), Kay Warner (Director, Focus on the Patient, GlaxoSmithKline), Nick Robinson (journalist), Aisling Burnand (CEO, AMRC) and Mike Thompson (CEO, ABPI).
Nicola Blackwood, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health & Innovation, Department of Health, said:
"Without patient and carer insight, today's research would be less robust, less practical - and consequently less relevant to the needs of future generations. And without the courage and willingness of so many selfless patients in and down this country to take part in clinical trials, much life-saving research would simply never get off the ground.
"This conference demonstrates that in our patient centric agenda we are not interested in mere warm words and tokenism. We know that only a determined, persistent deepening in our partnership with patients will bring further progress
"I call on all of us who are here today – including myself as the Minister for Public Health and Innovation – to commit ourselves to reducing the disease burdens of our time by putting patients first."
Plenary sessions covered critical topics such as 'Partnerships to improve patient access to NHS research', 'Patient Data', 'Emerging landscape of accelerated drug development' and 'Putting patients in the driving seat – digital technology and health research', and saw delegates share best practice and explore opportunities for collaboration to deliver best patient outcomes.
Mike Thompson, Chief Executive of ABPI, said:
"Our industry is on the brink of some great discoveries, with some 7,000 medicines in the pipeline. As medicines development becomes increasingly complex and we enter an era of ever more personalised medicines, it's absolutely critical that patients are involved at every step."
Aisling Burnand, Chief Executive of AMRC, said:
"By jointly hosting the Patients First conference with the ABPI we have seized a rare but critical opportunity for everyone in the medical research sector – patients, researchers, charities, government and industry – to collaborate.
"We face a challenging time of potential serious health epidemics – including dementia in our ageing population, cancer and diabetes – and all within a climate of economic uncertainty. It is vital that the sector pulls together to address these challenges with patients and their families at the heart of what we do.
"By pooling resources and expertise, and by working innovatively and collaboratively, the medical research sector can step out of the current health and economic shadows and embrace the extremely bright and positive outlook for medical research in the UK. Now more than ever, we must realise the potential for our medical research sector to lead the way in patient-centred research that delivers the outcomes patients deserve. It is my hope that the conference is just the start of a conversation, and proves the impetus needed for much more cross-sector collaboration in medical research going forward."
ABPI Press Office
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The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK.
Our industry, a major contributor to the economy of the UK, brings life-saving and life-enhancing medicines to patients. We represent companies who supply more than 80 per cent of all branded medicines used by the NHS and who are researching and developing the majority of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome disease.
Globally our industry is researching and developing more than 7,000 new medicines.
The ABPI is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.
1. The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) is the national membership organisation for the health and medical research charity world, influencing the policy and research environments by harnessing the collective strengths of our members, to demonstrate the sector's positive impact on health and wellbeing.
2. AMRC has 135 members which include the largest health and medical charities in the UK: the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, and the Wellcome Trust. All members, large and small, work to the same high standards ensuring that every pound they spend on research is invested in lifesaving research of the very highest quality.
3. AMRC membership is the hallmark of quality research funding. Our members demonstrate this quality through:
a) Funding high-quality work by following AMRC standards in peer review
b) Producing a policy on conflicts of interest
c) Publishing a research strategy.
4. Medical research charities exist because the public choose to donate their money to support research to develop new treatments and cures; 10 million people donated to medical research charities last year. In 2015, AMRC members invested over £1.4bn in health research in the UK.