On 7 February 2007, the Government and the pharmaceutical industry together launched the Long Term Leadership Strategy (“LTLS”). The LTLS has been developed by the Ministerial Industry Strategy Group (“MISG”); a body whose membership includes ministers, officials and representatives from the pharmaceutical industry and which was established to facilitate growth of the pharmaceutical industry in the UK.

The LTLS was established with the aims of (i) securing the provision of safe and effective medicines for patients and to advance healthcare innovation; (ii) strengthening the environment for the pharmaceutical industry in Europe; and (iii) improving efficiency of medicines regulation in the UK and Europe.

In order to achieve these aims, three working groups were established:

1. The Partnership Working Group explored ways to improve relations between industry and the NHS to encourage joint working in the future and the better use of costeffective medicines for the benefit of patients.

2. The European Working Group provided a forum for the Government and UK-based pharmaceutical industry to develop proposals for the European Commission’s High Level Pharmaceutical Forum and its three working groups which are addressing the areas of pricing, relative effectiveness and patient information.

3. The Regulatory Working Group explored ways to achieve and sustain a regulatory environment in the UK and Europe which could support innovations in the pharmaceutical industry and meet the needs of government and patients.

Each working group developed recommendations and an outline timeframe for their implementation. The MISG will monitor the implementations and receive updates from all the groups at its meetings in 2007 and will publish an update on the progress of implementation by the end of 2008.

The MISG also produced the ‘Vision Paper’ a document with a ten-year horizon which sets out suggestions to achieve a world-leading health and research environment in the UK where patient care is enhanced through improved use of new medicines. According to MISG, this vision and the recommendations from Sir David Cooksey in his report ‘A Review of UK Health Research Funding’ provide directions for policy development in this area over the next decade.