British PM wants to help U.K. pharma

The fact that pharma's employment numbers are falling hasn't been lost on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The PM has assembled a special panel to figure out how to protect pharma and biotech companies as the economy deteriorates.

According to The Times, Brown has tapped Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson to head up a group that also includes pharma heavyweights Andrew Witty (CEO of GlaxoSmithKline) and David Brennan (CEO of AstraZeneca). A cadre of other government and industry types also are weighing in; the group will report directly to the PM starting this fall.

Among the problems they'll seek to redress are the ones we're all familiar with: expiring patents, increasing regulatory hurdles, and so on. The industry is also expected to fight for new patent legislation and tax measures--perhaps in return for keeping some manufacturing domestic rather than moving it abroad.

- read the story in the Times
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