The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) broadly welcome the Public Accounts Committee report on NHS England Specialised Services. The recommendations urgently call for NHS England to become much more transparent in both its operation (including in regard to publication of minutes of key committee meetings) and to put in place a clear and a consistent process through which it develops potential commissioning policies for new treatments and how it makes decisions. The PAC report also calls for greater transparency of the quality of services commissioned and, most importantly, the patient outcomes delivered.
The ABPI's Value and Access Director Dr Paul Catchpole said: "The main recommendations endorse the ongoing concerns of the pharmaceutical industry and many other stakeholders regarding the lack of transparency and accountability of NHS England processes.
"As the report highlights, NHS England has overhauled its governance and decision-making processes twice in the last two years, leading to confusion, frustration and, most worryingly, delays in patient access to specialised medicines. Therefore the report's recommendations are vital if it is to provide assurance to all stakeholders that its processes and decision-making is transparent and equitable.
"NHS England must embrace these continued calls for greater transparency and set out stable and consistent processes, including clarifying the decision-making process for 2016/17, if it is to both reduce inefficiency and continually drive improvements in patient care. It must also address the lack of an independent appeal mechanism to ensure that the decisions NHS England make can be appropriately challenged and that patients are able to access medicines fairly.
"We acknowledge the financial challenges facing NHS England, which is why we support the Committee's calls for better planning and integration of specialised services within the NHS Five Year Forward View. This should include ensuring that best use is made of the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), where the pharmaceutical industry has already contributed over £1billion to the Department of Health, to ensure that it fulfils its aim of improving patient access to innovative medicines."
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The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK.
Our industry, a major contributor to the economy of the UK, brings life-saving and life-enhancing medicines to patients. We represent companies supplying around 90 per cent of all medicines used by the NHS, and are researching and developing the majority of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome diseases.
The ABPI is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry, for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.