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UK pharma and government launch new collaboration

Published on 14/02/07 at 10:33am

A collaboration between GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer and East Lincolnshire PCT has been heralded as the future of healthcare in a joint statement by the UK pharma industry and the Department of Health.

The programme was highlighted at the launch of the Long-term Leadership Strategy (LTLS) in medicines, which aims to promote closer working by government and the pharma industry to shape the future environment for medicines.

The PCT's Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) programme, funded in conjunction with the three companies, saw a 23% fall in COPD admission rates, with 78 out of 215 patients having acute episodes that were successfully managed at home.

Ensuring that the NHS uses cost-effective treatments is one of the new initiative's key aims and more partnerships like the COPD project are seen as integral to this aim.

The LTLS was developed by a joint group of ministers, government officials and industry leaders which included AstraZeneca chief executive David Brennan, Sanofi-Aventis UK managing director Nigel Brooksby and ABPI director general Richard Barker.

Barker said: "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."

The ABPI will seek to position their members' products to NHS managers as tools with which they can, for example, reduce admissions yet enhance patient care. The second main element of this new joint strategy is to improve the regulatory environment for pharma companies.

Health minister Lord Hunt said the relationship between government and the industry has matured, praising the latter's key role in the economy and its discovery and development of more leading medicines than any other country, apart from the USA, and as much as the rest of Europe combined.

An ABPI spokesman said: "The LTLS represents the start of a process. This report is about agreeing there is a problem and ensuring the industry and government are on the same page. This is about adding a level of transparency and attempting to build trust for the future."

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