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Pharma facing "challenge" of England's new local formularies


A representative of the UK's branded pharma trade body on Tuesday said raising awareness about the value of including members' drugs in new primary care formularies in England is "a challenge".

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), in which doctors and clinicians play a leading role, in April began to influence which primary care services are available in their areas.

In a telephone interview, Kevin Blakemore, national NHS partnership manager for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said pharma companies were still getting to grips with the new arrangements.

Like some predecessors CCGs have formularies that are tailored to local needs - but Blakemore said his work raising awareness with them about the branded drugs on offer from ABPI member companies had only just begun.

Blakemore, whose unit seeks to liaise with NHS organisations to promote interests of all ABPI members, said: "There is a huge amount of work to be done there for the health service and for industry, a real challenge for the pharmaceutical industry and for patients themselves. There is a long way to go."

Blakemore's unit, which has four other regional representatives, attempts to "create a level playing field" for ABPI members across the NHS in England.

ABPI will not support further local price arrangements

He added that the ABPI will also fight against any local price arrangements offering further discounts on top of those negotiated at UK level through the PPRS (Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme), which applies to most branded medicines.

A European Commission-sponsored report in May found there were 28 such local arrangements in place in England and Wales.
Blakemore added: "We have a PPRS in place and medicines are assessed through cost effectiveness bodies such as NICE, the SMC in Scotlnd and the Welsh Medicines Strategy Group.

The ABPI is therefore "not supporting more local deals that undermine the PPRS," said Blakemore

Blakemore declined to answer a question from APM on whether ongoing negotiations between the ABPI and the UK government on a new PPRS agreement, due to come into force in January 2014 for existing branded medicines, will impact on his unit's work.

The ABPI is also in negotiations with the government over a value-based pricing system for new medicines, due to come into effect at the same time.


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