Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) chief executive Stephen Whitehead:

"The measures announced in the budget statement will help improve the UK’s general business environment and allow pharmaceutical companies operating here to remain competitive in a global market. Specifically, moves towards a more competitive tax regime, including a further reduction of corporation tax so that the UK has among the lowest rates in Europe, are welcome."

Whitehead went on to say that the pharmaceutical industry is of huge significance to the UK economy, employing 67,000 people directly and generating a trade surplus of £7bn every year.

chart health

The UK has steadily invested in their healthcare sector in recent years, pledging £130bn in 2012-2013.

"The government has long recognised our contribution and we appreciate their ongoing support, with initiatives like the patent box and more recent measures announced in the Strategy for UK Life Sciences and the Innovation, Health and Wealth review of innovation in the NHS," he added.

"Looking beyond the budget, it is essential that recognition is given to the importance of a strong commercial environment for industry, where the uptake of new innovative medicines is ensured and pricing rewards innovation."

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BioIndustry Association (BIA) interim chief executive Glyn Edwards:

"We are pleased that the Chancellor recommitted the government to supporting the life sciences sector in the budget. The Chancellor’s plans to help enable the commercialisation of research, invest £100m in new university research facilities and to increase the Enterprise Management Incentive Scheme grant limit are to be welcomed."

Edwards added that the government could do even more and called for the introduction of funds that encourage people to invest relatively small sums of money in innovative life science companies.

"The BIA believes this commercialisation will be helped if innovative companies have access to additional sources of funding, such as those offered by our proposed Citizens Innovation Funds. These funds would make the government an enabler rather than a provider of much needed investment in innovative businesses."

Ethical Medicines Industry Group (EMIG) chairman Leslie Galloway (representing pharmaceutical small and medium enterprises):

"In the UK, SMEs constitute approximately 90% of the total number of biopharmaceutical companies and it is estimated that 80% of invention is derived from these smaller companies. As such, we are delighted to see that today’s strategy includes specific measures to support SMEs to grow and prosper," said Galloway, speaking to Online Pharma Times after the announcement of the budget on 21 March 2012.

GlaxoSmithKline CEO Sir Andrew Witty (after confirming investment of more than £500m in manufacturing sites across the UK and construction of a new factory in Cumbria):

cumbria site

GSK confirmed the investment of more than £500m in manufacturing sites across the UK in reaction to the Budget announcement.

"The introduction of the patent box has transformed the way in which we view the UK as a location for new investments, ensuring that the medicines of the future will not only be discovered, but can also continue to be made here in Britain.

"Consequently, we can confirm that we will build GSK’s first new UK factory for almost 40 years and that we will make other substantial capital investments in our British manufacturing base. In total, this will create up to 1,000 new jobs over the lifetime of the projects," he said.

"We are also actively considering other investments in our UK manufacturing network which would create further jobs and reinforce the UK’s international competitiveness and as a world leader in life sciences."

UK Prime Minister David Cameron (in reaction to GSK’s announcement):

"This is excellent news, a major investment that will create many highly skilled jobs and provide a great boost to the economy. It shows why we are right to cut business tax and focus on making the UK a dynamic and competitive place that can attract exactly this type of high tech investment," Cameron said.

"We have a world class life sciences industry, and I am determined not just to keep it here in the UK but significantly increase it too. We cannot be complacent, the industry is changing and we must change with it.

"Our innovative life sciences strategy and ground breaking patent box are already making a difference, helping to grow this important industry and ensure the great discoveries of the next decade happen here in British laboratories."