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There were a couple of important announcements to note from Government last week. Following the publication of the final recommendations from Jim O’Neill’s review on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) back in May, the government has published its response to the review and the second annual progress report on the UK 5 year AMR strategy – read the press release here.

Lord O’Neill’s review made 10 recommendations on how to best prevent the challenge of AMR. The recommendations include raising awareness of AMR globally, reducing the use of antibiotics in animals and improving hygiene to help stop the spread of infection. The UK government response accepts these recommendations as part of its ongoing AMR strategy.

The second annual progress report describes what was achieved in the second year of implementation of the UK 5 year AMR strategy, including a number of significant achievements on the international stage. Important to note for industry was the launch of a new £4m AMR competition from Innovate UK last week. More details on our Funding Opportunities page. The briefing webinar is today from 4 – 6pm so do move quickly if you’re interested.

This is an important step in the global fight against AMR. However the UK government alone cannot drive this forward – it requires a coordinated international effort. Tomorrow the UN General Assembly in New York are being asked to commit to a resolution to tackle antimicrobial resistance. This is only the third health issue the UN have ever held a meeting about, in itself representative of the scale of the issue. BIA will continue to keep a watching brief and provide an update on any developments in next week’s blog.

The government’s commitment to tackling AMR was also picked up in the second positive announcement from last week, of a new £816 million investment in health research by the Department of Health – the largest ever investment into health research. Antimicrobial resistance research will see funding increase to around £45 million, dementia to over £45 million, deafness and hearing problems will receive over £15 million and mental health research rises to nearly £70 million. Great news for the sector.

You’ll have noticed that a new Government health Bill was introduced last week, the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill – details here. This is something we’ll be keeping an eye on and if you have any comments please do get in touch.

If you’ve been following our work around the impact of Brexit on the life science sector, or if you haven’t and are looking for an easy way to catch up, do register for this Thursday’s free webinar hosted by Scrip, where myself and other panel members take a look at the issues and opportunities as UK life sciences define a new relationship in Europe. Details here.

On BIA events, please note that the BIA Annual General Meeting will take place on 20 October following the UK Bioscience Forum and preceding the Autumn Reception – it would be great to see you there. The ballot is now open for the election of five Directors of the BIA. Full details of the ballot process were sent to the primary contact at each BIA member organisation, but you can find all relevant information, including profiles of the candidates (pictured above), here. Polling closes on 14 October 2016.

We’re looking forward to another of our Women in Biotech events tomorrow, hope to see you there.

Best

Steve