8 May 2017

  |  CBI Scotland


Member Spotlight: Gilead Sciences

In this month’s Member Spotlight, CBI Scotland asked Gilead Sciences to explain how policymakers in the UK and Scotland alike can work with industry to encourage investment and dialogue on delivering new medicines.

Member Spotlight: Gilead Sciences

Scotland prides itself on being a world leader in health and innovation, conscious that proper care for its ageing population requires significant innovation and financial support.

Integrated health and social care is already projected to cost £8 billion, and it recognises some daunting challenges. Figures from the Scottish Government indicate that about two million Scots already live with a long-term condition and health and social care costs are expected to increase as people live longer, as conditions are managed more effectively.

There is a potential for savings, however. Innovative medicines that save and transform patients’ lives can also reduce the cost of health and social care. Providing access to these medicines and increasing patient usage of them is therefore a vital component to strengthen Scotland’s life science industry.

Like Scotland as a whole, the life science industry is experiencing unprecedented political changes. Brexit negotiations and the UK General Election for instance are putting pressure on the life science sector to demonstrate its value to both patients and society. However, Scotland’s life science companies are innovators and in many cases they should continue to attract investment based on the range and potential of their products.

Gilead Sciences is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercialises innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical need. Gilead’s therapeutic focus includes HIV/AIDS, liver disease, haematology and oncology, inflammatory and respiratory disease, as well as cardiovascular conditions. It has a rapidly expanding product portfolio, a growing pipeline of investigational drugs and over 8,900 employees in offices across six continents.

We are working in partnership with clinicians, healthcare professionals, and patient organisations to develop innovative medicines and deliver them to people as efficiently as possible. Through our medicines and our partnerships we have significant expertise of delivering healthcare to the most vulnerable communities where inequity of health provision is a major challenge.

We continue to promote access to our treatments, including support to identify and link people to care including environments such as prison populations.

Many of the patients who are treated with Gilead’s medicines in Scotland are recipients of broad and multiple health and social care services. HIV and Hepatitis C often affect disadvantaged and marginalised communities.

Over the past decade, international efforts have greatly increased the number of people in developing countries receiving antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV/AIDS. Although significant progress has been made, challenges remain in preventing new infections and managing long term complications. Gilead is working to develop next-generation HIV therapies for all individuals who live with the disease including new preventative technologies.

Hepatitis C in particular poses significant challenges to Scottish health and welfare. It is estimated that around 36,700 people in Scotland are chronically infected with the Hepatitis C virus, with the majority having been infected through drug use. New directing acting antivirals (DAA) medicines, including Gilead medicines, can now cure approximately 90% patients within as little as 12 weeks of treatment.[i]

As healthcare is often the entry-point to improving health and wellbeing – which can transform people’s lives – we are in active dialogue with policy makers to identify how to improve healthcare outcomes for patients.

We seek to build on dialogue with policy makers to help the Scottish government seize the opportunities presented by new curative Hepatitis C medicines and new HIV treatments. We do this because believe it is good for patients, is beneficial for society and is supportive of our important life science industry.

As the political narrative unfolds in the UK and Scotland, we encourage investment and dialogue to ensure that we can continue to deliver new medicines and to play our part in improving the overall welfare of Scotland.


[i] A review of direct-acting antivirals for the treatment of hepatitis C in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease - Nephrol Dial Transplant (2017) 32: 41–49; doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfv411; Advance Access publication 15 December 2015