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scientists respond to Cooksey reform of medical research report

Sir David Cooksey today published his review of the institutional arrangements for the public funding of health research in the UK.

You can read more about the report at the HM Treasury website

Simon Denegri, Chief Executive at the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), said:

“Our members will welcome the importance to be given in the new Office for Strategic Co-ordination of Health Research (OSCHR) to building a stronger partnership between Government, health industries and medical research charities. Also the opportunities to be provided by the engineering of a more positive culture in support of research within the NHS, and associated mechanisms for encouraging the adoption of new ideas and therapies of benefit to patients. Finally, we welcome the emphasis given in the report to maintaining the UK’s current strengths in basic science.”

Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said:

“I am very pleased that Sir David Cooksey and his team have provided an excellent way forward that will strengthen UK health research and its translation into benefits for patients.

“In my view the most important features of the report are first, that the NHS R&D budget will be ring-fenced and set up as a separate agency with proper governance and second, the MRC will continue to support first class biomedical research.

“MRC and NHS R&D funding will be coordinated by an overarching body which will provide strategic oversight and a shared platform for translation of advances in medical science into health benefits for us all.

“I hope the new funding arrangement will provide an enhanced focus for partnership and engagement with other research funders, including the biomedical research charities.”

Aisling Burnand, Chief Executive of the BioIndustry Association, said:

“This is a timely and important report that will play a crucial role in the debate on how we provide medicines and therapies to patients.

“The stakes are high. The challenges facing medical research have never been greater, and we must not sleepwalk into a situation where these are left unaddressed.

“We welcome the report’s emphasis on prioritising support for medicines and therapies that tackle unmet health needs. In this context, we must not lose sight of diseases that affect smaller patient populations. In particular, the recommendation for a new drug development pathway could have a dramatic impact by reducing the cost of drug development, which can only be good news for UK patients.

“We also welcome the recommendation to improve the translation of research into health and economic benefits.

“What is needed now is action. It is important that the recommendations are implemented swiftly and that sufficient funding is provided to enable this.”

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