NHS/industry collaboration could improve access to drugs

Protesting against health inequalities

Collaborative working between the NHS and industry could reduce variations in uptake of innovative treatments across the UK, a joint report from NHS Confederation and ABPI argues.  

Analysis from the report has shown a significant variation in access to innovative medicines for patients across the UK and showed that uptake of new treatments in these areas continues to be below the average of similar countries in Europe.  

The report, ‘Transforming Lives, Improving Health Outcomes’, highlights four initiatives where effective partnerships between the NHS, patient organisations and industry have helped to tackle unwarranted variation in the uptake of innovative medicines.  

It calls for a systemwide secondary prevention strategy covering all parts of the health system creating a barrier to wider and consistent uptake of innovative medicine. 

Commenting on the recommendations, Richard Torbett, ABPI Chief Executive, said: “Everyone in the health system wants to see improved access to care. By implementing the ideas in this report, particularly around improving access to innovative medicines, we can make real and rapid improvements that will relieve the pressures on the NHS.”  

Key recommendations from the report  
  • National NHS leaders should improve engagement between the life sciences industry and their national and local colleagues, to make easier for the NHS to know about development in medicines, and how these can be implemented in care pathways.  
  • Health and Care Government departments across the nations should publish a clear national policy statement on how improved access to innovative medicines could significantly reduce unwarranted variation in standards of health and care, improve health outcomes, reduce health inequalities, tackle patient backlogs, contribute to economic growth and support delivery of NHS long-term plans. 
  • Health and care organisations across the system should focus efforts on activities that will deliver the greatest impact, in terms of accelerating introduction and adoption of innovations already in and being brought to the UK by the global industry, with industry involvement viewed as an integral component of partnership from initial planning stages through to implementation and performance monitoring. 

The full report and recommendations are available at: NHS Confederation and ABPI, Transforming Lives, Improving Health Outcomes: Tackling the True Cost of Variation in Uptake of Innovative Medicines.

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