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New guidance on joint working between the NHS and Pharmaceutical Industry

New guidance on joint working between the NHS and Pharmaceutical Industry

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release issued by The Government News Network on 1 February 2008

New guidance to encourage the NHS to work jointly with the pharmaceutical industry to improve patient care was welcomed today by health minister Dawn Primarolo.

The Department of Health guidance will give advice on how, for example, Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), pharmaceutical companies and clinicians can work together to identify particular medical needs in a community.

The guidance will:

* encourage NHS organisations and staff to work together to deliver high-quality healthcare; and
* inform and advise NHS staff of their main responsibilities when working together with the pharmaceutical industry.

A number of PCTs have come up with innovative ways of working with pharmaceutical companies to help improve the services they provide to patients.

For example, East Lincolnshire PCT has worked with three companies to identify people with suspected Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), train clinicians to manage these patients and establish specific COPD clinics. The programme saw a 23 per cent fall in admission rates in COPD compared to single figure fall in neighbouring PCTs. Over a five month period, 78 out of 215 case-managed patients had acute episodes that were successfully managed at home with only one resulting in hospital admission. This clearly fits with patient expectation to have their care provided in the community.

Dawn Primarolo said:

"We know that joint working between the NHS and pharmaceutical industry can bring real benefits to patients so we want the NHS to work with them more to improve patient care.

"This best practice guidance demonstrates that patients really can get better care when the NHS and industry work together."

Judith Smith, respiratory nurse consultant, and Noel Kelly, a GPwSI in respiratory medicine, from East Lincolnshire PCT said:

"This guidance will help steer NHS organisations in developing transparent mature relationships with the pharmaceutical industry. Ultimately both the NHS and industry have a common shared goal in improving patient well being with effective treatments and services."

Richard Barker, director general of ABPI said:

"The pharmaceutical industry has a huge amount of expertise, not only in the modern, innovative medicines it has researched but also in the conditions they have been developed to treat. Increasingly, the importance of this knowledge being shared with our partners in the NHS for the benefit of patients is being recognised, and this guidance can only encourage the constructive use of such activity in the UK."

Notes for Editors:

1. Joint working between the pharmaceutical industry and the NHS must be for the benefit of patients or the NHS and preserve patient care. Any joint working between the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry should be conducted in an open and transparent manner. All such activities, if properly managed, should be of mutual benefit, with the principal beneficiary being the patient. The length of the arrangement, the potential implications for patients and the NHS, together with the perceived benefits for all parties, should be clearly outlined before entering into any joint working.

2. In February 2007, the Ministerial Industry Strategy Group published its Long-Term Leadership Strategy for medicines. To encourage joint working between the NHS and pharmaceutical industry it recommended that the Department would publish guidance to support this.

3. The Long-Term Leadership Strategy also recommended the development of a toolkit for use by the NHS and industry to support joint working and include information on positive examples. The toolkit is being developed and is currently being evaluated with a launch in March 2008.

4. The Pharmaceutical Industry Competitiveness Task Force (PICTF) process set a new direction of travel in the relationship the Government has with the pharmaceutical Industry. The PICTF report (2001) recommended that this close working should continue through the Ministerial Industry Strategy Group (MISG). MISG brings ministers and executives from the global level together, and provides the strategic forum for dialogue, and implements programmes of action in pursuit of shared strategic objectives (a list of the membership is attached).

Its membership is:

Co-Chairs: Dawn Primarolo (Minister of State for Public Health)

David Brennan (British Pharma Group & CEO, AstraZeneca)

Members: Government

Angela Eagle (Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury)

Ian Pearson (Science Minister, DIUS)

Stephen Timms (Business Relations Minister, BERR)


Richard Barker (Director General, ABPI)

Simon Best (President, BioIndustry Association & Chairman, Ardana)

Nigel Brooksby (President, ABPI, & UK Managing Director, Sanofi-Aventis)

William Burns (European Medicines Group & President of Pharmaceuticals, Roche)

Haruo Naito (Japanese Pharmaceutical Group & CEO, Eisai)

Abbas Hussain (American Pharma Group & President of Pharamceuticals, Lilly)

Andrew Witty (British Pharma Group & President, Pharmaceuticals Europe, GlaxoSmithKline)

5. Sir David Cooksey, and officials from the Department of Health, HMT, BERR, DCSF, Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory products Agency, and UK Trade and Investment also attend. Ministers and officials from other government departments and other representatives from industry attend as and when necessary.

6. In February 2007, MISG published the Long-Term Leadership Strategy report. The report had five main elements which included:

* Recommendations from the Partnership Working Group on improving relations between the NHS and industry to support the better use of cost effective innovation, focussing particularly on medicines.

* Recommendations from the European Working Group for the Government and industry to develop proposals to assist the aims of the European Commission's Pharmaceutical Forum to improve European competitiveness.

* Recommendations from the Regulatory Working Group to improve the effectiveness of medicines regulation.

* A vision that set out what the UK environment might look like for the discovery, development, through to use by patients of new medicines in the future.

7. The LTLS report and its supporting studies can be found at:

8. The Guidance on Joint Working between the NHS and pharmaceutical industry can be found at:

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