The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has launched a new guidance for joint working between the NHS and industry, which sets out a ten-step process to scope, set up and monitor joint working projects, while making sure they are completely transparent for patients and the public.

The organisation stated that examples of joint working projects - defined as being situations where pharmaceutical companies, the NHS and others pool skills, experience and resources for the joint development of patient-centred projects - include identification of undiagnosed patients, improving patient adherence to medicines and contributions to nurse services.

The ‘toolkit’ aims to make sure that joint working between the NHS and industry delivers ‘a triple win’ in benefits for patients, the NHS and companies.

ABPI chief executive Mike Thompson commented that the “benefits of joint working are significant for all concerned – higher quality care, lower hospital admissions and more appropriate use of medicines”, before going on to say that he hopes the guidance will  “give people in companies and the NHS the confidence to work together in new ways, and kickstart many successful new joint working projects.”

The document includes legal guidance on joint working, to help make sure that projects comply with data protection and competition law, and also makes clear that joint working projects must be underpinned by a formal Joint Working Agreement, an executive summary of which must be made publicly available before the project begins.