The Department of Health’s chief pharmaceutical officer has appealed for more focus on partnerships between the NHS and industry.


Speaking at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine Annual Symposium, Keith Ridge discussed the logistics of making medicines optimisation a reality.

“This is a central focus across the Commissioning Board. It will require a new level of patient and public engagement with medicines, silos will have to be broken down and there will have to be an enhanced level of partnership working with the industry,” he said.

“Medicines optimisation is patient-focused, outcomes-based, quality-driven, enhanced collaboration and enhanced patient engagement.”

Ridge made it clear that pharma should not think of medicines optimisation as the “repackaging” of medicines management. “Medicines optimisation is a more sophisticated model and represents more understanding of where a medicine fits in a pathway.”

However, he acknowledged there was tension regarding potential partnerships between the industry and NHS and asked for both sides to keep an open mind and look at doing more.  

“Pharma is a key partner in the success of medicines optimisation,” he stressed.

But he also noted a large role for professional practices, which will have to be reoriented to address the sub-optimal use of medicines, he said.

“Professional practice has to change. The current system is unacceptable.”

He is also asking for local formularies to be reformulated to improve transparency and medicines optimisation, and he noted that he was in discussions with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence over the development of a quality standard on medicines optimisation.

“These issues should concern us all. This is an important matter that we need to take ownership of.”