Friday, 27 August 2010

Just because you are paranoid...

...doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you. OK – they aren’t out to get me – but my feeling that the government’s commitment to medical research may not be as strong as we would like, or that the UK needs, is resonating elsewhere.

Rather than write about it myself – let me direct you to one of the best blogs in the charity medical research sector – Simon Denegri*. In his recent blog he says “I know that I can be prone to policy hypochondria but, in talking with our members, my instinctive sense that the current White Paper proposals do not account for nor incentivise strongly enough medical research, has hardened.” Read more Sunshine, stem cells and policy hypochondria over the NHS.

Simon mentions the following blog in his text from William Cullerne Brown** on what is being billed as Vince Cable’s first major speech on science on the 8 September. As How to read Vince Cable's big speech on science at Queen Mary's University of London. This goes beyond medical research and into science in general and sounds some warning signals. He states, “I think the central question is still what role spending by government on research and technology plays in the government's economic thinking...... Either the coalition believes the state has an important role in securing Britain's hi-tech future, in which case it should have no difficulty in committing to long-term support for science. Or it doesn't, in which case the only thing it can say is, as Margaret Thatcher did, that the government's job is to cut taxes so that firms can make up their own minds about where to spend their money.”

Certain industries may well do that – and do it elsewhere – the pharmaceutical industry certainly has that option. And without good basic research coming out of the universities – well there are plenty of other options for them and not in this country.

* CEO of the Association of Medical Research Charities
** William Cullerne Brown is Chairman and Founder of Research Fortnight and Research Europe

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