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The animal health industry: part of the development of the UK as a scientific superpower

Dawn Howard, NOAH Chief Executive | NOAH

3 min read Partner content

Dawn Howard, NOAH Chief Executive, calls on the government to back the animal health and medicines industry as a core part of the UK’s fast-developing life sciences sector.

The animal health and medicines industry is high-value, high-growth, high-skilled and invaluable to the UK’s fast-developing life sciences sector. NOAH represents around 97% of the UK animal medicines market and its members range from small businesses to some of the world’s largest animal health companies. They make a significant contribution to developing the UK as a global scientific superpower. Our members already directly support over 4,000 highly skilled jobs in the fields of science, research and innovation across the UK.

NOAH, and the animal health industry itself, plays a core role as part of the UK’s wider life sciences sector. Our members are at the forefront of delivering cutting-edge innovations. These include new vaccines to prevent disease, diagnostic tools, digital technologies for livestock and pets, as well as real-time monitoring and surveillance of livestock to catch the first signs of any ill health.

As with the human medicine sector, the UK is also witnessing major developments in the animal health industry as companies look to harness new technologies. Animal health companies have recognised the potential of digital technologies and are using them to improve the health of animals and their relationships with customers.

NOAH works to ensure that the benefits of these major technological developments in the animal health industry are felt across the UK. This cutting-edge work has the potential to prevent animal diseases and also ensures that animals can be diagnosed and treated with greater accuracy. This helps build resilience for the UK farming sector which enables more sustainable farming, better health and welfare for farm animals, as well as longer and healthier lives for pets in our homes.

As the UK recovers from COVID-19 and seeks to foster long-term, viable and productive sectors, it will be vital that the value of the animal health and medicines industry is fully recognised by the government. Our UK animal medicines market alone is worth £725 million ex-factory annually, with our members making an additional contribution through other animal health technologies and products. Our sector has the potential to support  a “Global Britain” where the UK can develop a world-leading market with export-led potential, while ensuring animals everywhere benefit from the cutting-edge work of NOAH’s members. This will in turn create thousands more highly-skilled scientific jobs across the UK.

However, for the UK’s life sciences industries and R&D sectors to flourish, it is critical that UK policy and regulatory frameworks encourage innovation and keep pace with cutting-edge technologies. NOAH supports the Government’s Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform whose recommendations aim to address some of these issues. 

NOAH also supports the forthcoming review of Veterinary Medicines Regulations. This is an opportunity to ensure these regulations are fit for purpose by ensuring that they are built around increasing the availability of veterinary medicinal products, stimulating competitiveness and innovation, and reducing the administrative burden. Reforming regulations provides an opportunity to implement science-led, pragmatic policies which will help to support a vibrant animal health sector in the UK.

In short, to ensure the UK is recognised as a scientific superpower, the government must realise the achievements and potential of the animal health and medicines industry.

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