Pharma sector has role to play in NHS prevention agenda, say 79% of MPs

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9th May 2019 14:37 - Pharmaceutical

Pharma sector has role to play in NHS prevention agenda, say 79% of polled MPs: A survey looking at the political attitudes to prevention as a top priority for the NHS has found MP polled believe the pharmaceutical sector should have a legitimate role going forward.

Findings from the report by WA Health, titled: Prevention over cure: political attitudes to prevention in the NHS Long Term Plan pointed to MPs supporting a repositioning within the NHS to focus more on preventative measures and spending less on medicines. 

As part of the research a YouGov survey questioned 100 cross-party MPs and found that 64% felt the NHS should be using more of its funding for prevention instead of spending more on new treatments.

It revealed that the majority of MPs polled believe that putting money into areas such as improving diet and encouraging more exercise should be top of the NHS prevention agenda. 

The study found that 43% of MPs felt their constituents would not receive poorer levels of care or treatment if too much the resource was channeled into prevention, compared to 46% who answered ‘tend to agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ (11% said they ‘did not know’).

The survey also found just under half (49%) of the MPs polled feel confident that the NHS Long Term Plan will be a success in terms of helping to prevent future illness and disease. 

When looking at support for possible forms of prevention, two thirds said that managing obesity, improving diet and increasing physical activity was top, followed by improving mental health. 

The support was much lower for preventative treatments developed by pharma companies, with just over a quarter (27%) putting support for increased predictive prevention such as genomic testing in their top three priorities. 

WA Health Director Caroline Gordon said: 

“The NHS is undergoing a significant shift towards prevention – pharma must change with it and showcase the crucial role it can play in health and wellbeing.”

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