The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and NHS England have developed a “compact agreement,” aimed at ensuring effective partnership working between ABPI members and the specialised services Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs).

Under the agreement, NHS England CRGs can expect the following from a partnership with a pharmaceutical organisation:

- partnership to drive the delivery of high-quality treatments and services for patients, and the promotion of joint working following the Joint Working Toolkit principles;

- access to information, analysis and insight, respecting confidentiality and the development of shared governance of data;

- promotion of the CRGs’ expertise among global colleagues, encouraging them to consider their input into development of new medicines;

- development of the means to share industry skills and expertise;

- optimisation of the quality of the engagement, including having appropriate individuals with the right knowledge and skills;

- the development of processes to provide medical information on the use of unlicensed medicines - subject to a documented request from a CRG - when there is clinical need in individual patients and no suitable licensed alternative;

- creation of a new industry group tasked with developing the strategic partnership;

- help to identify where on care pathways efficiencies (quality and productivity) can be made;

- support implementation of service policies where appropriate, and the adoption of new medicines;

- transparency about engagement, particularly around any resources provided;

- provision of timely and appropriate advance product information to support horizon scanning and impact assessment to help inform planning decisions, ie, New Chemical Entities, new indications and formulations for existing products; and

- ABPI will host an annual meeting between representatives of the CRGs and industry.

And, from a partnership with an NHS England CRG, pharmaceutical organisations can expect:

- to be involved in the formation of clinical access policy development that relates to their product or specifications to a field of interest:

- sharing of non-patient-identifiable data on variations in patient access and clinical outcomes; 

- collaboration in developing research, including developing methods of collecting real-world data, developing and managing data registries and non-intervention studies;

- access to expertise within the CRG, both clinical and the patient and public voice;

- a single point of contact for each CRG;

- collaboration on the development of paediatric drug research and shared input to commissioning products;

- a stakeholder engagement plan that includes the industry with parity of esteem to other stakeholders;

- inclusion in work to evaluate care pathways;

- support for the implementation of service policy across the health economy;

- facilitation of meetings with individual or multiple companies with stakeholder interest in a particular therapy area:

- provision of effective and timely clinical expertise into NHS England evaluation processes, provision of service expertise in horizon scanning; and

- the organisation of a national conference for specialised services to include all stakeholder companies.

“The use of these compact principles aims to bring intellect, creativity and energy to improve healthcare in ways that add value to the patients, the NHS and the partnered commercial organisations,” say ABPI and NHS England.