The UK government announced that the Office for Life Sciences will continue to be a joint unit across the Department of Health (DH) and the newly formed Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The status of the OLS was put into question following the re-assignment of UK Life Science Minister George Freeman to a new post under UK’s new Prime Minister Theresa May following the UK's decision to exit the European Union (EU) through a public referendum (so-called Brexit) in June 2016.
Sector responsibilities for the life sciences will be split across ministers in the DH and the BEIS. In the DH, two ministers will be jointly responsible for life sciences. Lord Prior of Brampton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, will lead on: the DH life-science industrial strategy; the accelerated access review; making a successful exit from the EU; and the biopharmaceutical and medical technology industry.
Nicola Blackwood, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Innovation, will lead on genomics, data and digital health, and emerging health technologies.
Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science within BEIS, will be responsible for the BEIS life-science industrial strategy. He will work with the BEIS Secretary of State, Greg Clark.
The ministerial support for the life-sciences spans both departments, the DH and the BEIS. The life-science sector will continue to be supported by the Office for Life Sciences and its director, Nicole Mather. The Office for Life Sciences will work with the new Department for International Trade and Department for exiting the EU.
A UK/EU steering group has been set up to oversee and manage a program of work to inform transition. This group, aligned with the Ministerial Industry Strategy Group, is gathering views from a variety of stakeholders across the sector. The group will provide recommendations and considerations for how the UK can form a new relationship with the EU following its exit from the EU.
Source: UK Office for Life Sciences
See related story, "Brexit: What Does It Mean for Pharma."