ABPI conference 2024

1st May 2024 by Tea Meneghetti

The 2024 ABPI Conference provided a comprehensive snapshot of the pharmaceutical industry's current state and future directions. Attendees learned about upcoming initiatives, such as a new ABPI campaign set to launch next year, alongside significant milestones that have already been achieved since a national commitment has been in place to support UK R&D growth like a 15% increase in clinical trial recruitment and increased government funding.

Industry successes

Key to these successes were the industry’s ongoing efforts to improve the commercial environment, notably through reforms under the Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access (VPAG) and recommendations from the O'Shaughnessy review. These reforms introduced new payment models for medication frameworks, which aim to foster competitiveness in the international market. Noteworthy was the allocation of £300 million under VPAG earmarked for clinical trials, demonstrating a concerted commitment to revitalizing this essential area.

Speakers also emphasised the progress that has been made across the entire healthcare ecosystem, particularly in clinical trial recruitment. Europe and international rankings have faced challenges, with the UK slipping from 5th to 10th in clinical trial recruitment, reflecting the need for policy changes and collaborative efforts to drive recovery.

AI, regulatory bodies and technology

Regulatory bodies like the MHRA are streamlining approval processes, whilst being mindful of patient needs and safety amidst rapidly evolving technological advancements. Some challenges remain, including diversity in trial participation and the integration of digital technologies like AI, where NHS adoption and systems limitations remain a focal point.

NICE are taking strides to meet the needs of the industry and are working on improving timelines, inclusion of RWE in appraisals where there is limited data and bringing more flexibility in areas of uncertainty. Providing the best price at the first committee meeting is vital in .

Another speaker panel reflected on how to improve patient engagement in clinical trials, particularly for rare diseases and ensure they are patent centric. Initiatives like mobile apps for trial information (especially via the existing NHS app, with a reach of 37 million people) and proactive outreach to patient support groups aim to enhance accessibility and inclusion. Integrating more research into primary care and raising awareness for how to get involved will make a big difference.

Innovations in AI hold promise for revolutionizing healthcare, from early diagnosis to drug discovery and personalized medicine. However, challenges remain, notably around data privacy and the need for robust regulatory frameworks to support AI applications.

The evolving public sector

Regardless of the initiative, there is a need for cultural changes across NHS, not add-ons. The unique microcosms of our devolved nations provide an opportunity to get everyone in a room to test and explore ideas which can then be replicated nationally.

There have been welcome changes to attitudes around pharmaceutical manufacturing by the government through successful schemes making a difference to public decision making and the work of bodies such as the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) which are highlighting he importance of manufacturing skills and jobs. Increased investment in this area will support the current key areas of focus including construction, sustainability, and digital solutions.


In conclusion, the 2024 ABPI Conference highlighted the need of cohesive, data-driven strategies to grow the pharmaceutical landscape. Collaboration between industry, government, and regulatory bodies is paramount to fostering innovation, improving patient outcomes, and advancing healthcare accessibility. As the industry navigates complexities, continuous adaptation and investment in transformative technologies like AI will drive progress towards a more efficient, patient-centred healthcare future.