Government and the pharmaceutical industry joined today to launch a strategy that will maintain and strengthen the environment for the industry in the UK while improving health for patients treated in the NHS.
The Ministerial Industry Strategy Group (MISG), a group made up of ministers, officials and key figures from the pharmaceutical industry, developed the plan known as the Long-Term Leadership Strategy, which looked at improving relations between the NHS and industry to support the better use of cost effective medicines.
Launching the report, Department of Health Minister Lord Hunt said:
"The pharmaceutical industry in the UK has discovered and developed more leading medicines than any other country apart from the USA and as much as the rest of Europe combined.
"The Long-Term Leadership Strategy demonstrates how the relationship between Government and the pharmaceutical industry has matured as we now look to shaping the future environment for medicines. "Pharmaceutical companies also add significant value to the UK economy. The industry spend around £3.2 billion on Research & Development in the UK, accounting for almost 10% of global R&D spending.
"The UK should lead the world in the development and delivery of long-term innovations in medicine, which maximise patient well-being whilst remaining cost effective. We also have a duty to obtain value for money and last year we asked the NHS to improve capacity to adopt innovations by reducing ineffective treatments.
"I am pleased to see that the report recognises that there is a role for industry in helping to improve the use of cost effective new medicines."
In addition to providing health benefits, the industry contributes significantly to the UK economy through investment in research and development, in manufacturing, and through direct and indirect employment. The strategy was developed with the aim of sustaining and growing the important contribution the pharmaceutical industry can make to the healthcare received by NHS patients, as well as strengthening an already world-leading health, research and operating environment in the UK.
Dr Richard Barker, Director General of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said:
"We echo Government's intent further to strengthen the environment for pharmaceutical innovation in the UK. Industry is ready to play its full part in ensuring cost-effective medicines reach UK patients, and in forming further productive partnerships across the NHS.
"We welcome a new, collaborative approach to recognise the value of medicines in terms of their ability to prevent critical health events, rather than being treated as merely an item on the health budget. Patients can only benefit from these developments."
One example of where joint working has benefited NHS patients can be found at East Lincolnshire PCT Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Programme in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer.
The PCT developed a three-phase programme to target suspected COPD which resulted in patients previously referred to secondary care being seen in primary care with the hospital managing the most complex patients and specialist services.
The programme recorded a 23% fall in admission rates in COPD. Over a five-month period, 78 out of 215 patients had acute episodes that were successfully managed at home.
Funding was shared between the PCT and the three companies, which also provided communications and marketing expertise and project management support. The project won the Health Service Journal's Chronic Disease Management Award and overall Secretary of State's Healthcare Management Award in 2005.
The Long-Term Leadership Strategy focused on three main areas:
- A Partnership Working Group looked at improving relations between the NHS and industry to support the better use of cost effective innovation, focussing particularly on medicines.
- An European Working Group provided a mechanism for the Government and industry to develop proposals to assist the aims of the European Commission's Pharmaceutical Forum to improve European competitiveness.
- A Regulatory Working Group considered what is needed to improve the effectiveness of medicines regulation.
Each working group was drawn from government, the NHS, patient groups, the pharmaceutical industry, and other stakeholders.
The first working group identified a number of examples of where the NHS and pharmaceutical industry have developed innovative joint working to improve services for patients and will be producing tools to support this.
The European group has supported the Government's input to the EU High-Level Pharmaceutical Forum in areas such as pricing, relative effectiveness and information for patients.
The recommendations of the third group address issues at every stage of the regulatory process, starting with the way clinical trials are approved, developing further opportunities for industry and the regulator to debate the way new drugs are developed, and improving the mechanisms for monitoring the safety of those products in every day use. Some of these can be achieved nationally but others are longer term aims as we work with the European Commission and other Member States.
Sir David Cooksey in his recent report 'A review of UK health research funding' advocated a new development pathway to increase the translation of health research into clinical practice for cost effective medicines. The Long-Term Leadership Strategy is an important first step on this journey, and the MISG will be taking forward the Cooksey recommendations.
Notes to Editors
1. Long-Term Leadership Strategy
MISG agreed to take forward the Long Term Leadership Strategy (LTLS) at its meeting in July 2005. The broad aims of the LTLS were:
"The Long Term Leadership Strategy (LTLS) will develop a long term strategy for medicines designed to: secure the provision of safe and effective medicines for patients; maintain and strengthen the UK pharmaceutical industry within Europe; and to advance healthcare innovation in the UK."
2. The Long-Term Leadership Report and supporting studies including East Lincolnshire PCT can be found at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/PolicyAndGuidance/MedicinesPharmacyAndIndustry/IndustryBranch/fs/en
3. Lord Hunt co-chaired the Pharmaceutical Industry Competitiveness Task Force (PICTF) in 1999 which reported to the Prime Minister two years later. The PICTF process was unique at the time as it brought Government and the pharmaceutical industry around the table for the first time and looked at the issues facing the industry at that time.
PICTF was initiated in November 1999, and reported to the Prime Minister in March 2001. The PICTF report can be found at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/PolicyAndGuidance/MedicinesPharmacyAndIndustry/IndustryBranch/fs/en
4. The UK is the EU leader in biomedical research and development and continues to drive the debate on healthcare issues. The UK is home to two of the world's top ten pharmaceutical companies and other research-based multinationals which collaborate widely with academia and the NHS.
5. High Level Pharmaceutical Forum
In June 2005, the European Commission announced a new High Level Pharmaceutical Forum to look at how member states could be supported in implementing the G10, and looking strategically at improving the attractiveness of the European environment.
In 2005, the European Commission established the High Level Pharmaceutical Forum to look at improving the competitiveness of Europe as it faced strong competition from the USA and emerging markets to attract R&D investment from the pharmaceutical industry.
Ensuring the HLPF is successful is important to the UK as we attract nearly 20% of the pharmaceutical industry investment in R&D in Europe. The UK Government has therefore been heavily involved in the HLPF to date, including leading on a project on non-statutory information to patients, drafting principles on relative effectiveness and pricing, carrying out research on the factors that impact on investment decisions made by pharmaceutical companies. The UK Government has also strongly supported the establishment of the Innovative Medicines Initiative.
6. MISG Membership (from 2007)
Co-Chairmen: Lord Hunt (Minister of State for Delivery & Quality, Department of Health)
John Patterson Co-chair of MISG 2007 (British Pharma Group & Executive Director, Development, AstraZeneca)
David Brennan Co-chair of MISG 2008 onwards (British Pharma Group & CEO, AstraZeneca)
John Healey (Financial Secretary to the Treasury)
Malcolm Wicks (Minister for Science and Innovation, DTI)
Richard Barker (Director General, ABPI)
Simon Best (Chairman, 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)
Ian C. Read (American Pharma Group & President, Worldwide Pharmaceutiical Operations, Pfizer Inc)
Andrew Witty (British Pharma Group & President, Pharmaceuticals Europe, GlaxoSmithKline)