Tag Archives: Guest Post

Tag for all posts written by external authors

Guest Post: Time to throw the CDF sticking plaster in the bin by Kevin Grogan

Kevin Grogan
Kevin Grogan

Cards on the table. I don’t like the Cancer Drugs Fund, never have. In fact, having reported on it extensively, I have never spoken to anyone, on the record or off, who thinks the CDF, introduced as a temporary fix, is a good idea.

Since its launch in 2011, while some patients have had access to life-extending innovative treatments, it became very clear very quickly that the £200 million set aside for the CDF would not be enough to meet demand. Even raising that to £340 million could not prevent the removal of some therapies, leaving patients in limbo.

It was therefore welcome news to hear that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and NHS England have begun a 12-week consultation on draft proposals outlining new arrangements for the CDF. Plainly put, the proposal is that the CDF will become a ‘managed access’ fund for new cancer drugs to give early access to those which appear promising but which have “currently uncertain evidence bases which are insufficient to support a recommendation for routine commissioning”, NICE notes.

New cancer drugs will normally receive a clear ‘yes’, ‘maybe’ (CDF funding for a time-limited period), or ‘no’ funding decision within 90 days of market authorisation. NICE says it will enable patients to receive new treatments that cannot yet be recommended for routine use but which have genuine promise, while real-world evidence is collected for up to two years on how well they work in practice.  The new scheme would operate from April 2016.

Some people believe this is a step in the right direction but I fear that we may be facing the wrong way. If we are looking to have early access to medicines, perhaps we should cast our eyes in the direction of the aptly-named Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS).

Through EAMS, some patients have been receiving highly innovative cancer therapies before they had a licence and the scheme is complemented by a new NICE technology appraisal and NHS England commissioning process. It is currently funded by pharmaceutical companies and while such a financial arrangement is not sustainable long-term, it seems to me that this type of model  – with the government, pharma companies, NICE, the NHS and yes, patients –  working together to ascertain the real value of a medicine is one that is worth developing further.

The new CDF scheme is scheduled to begin at the same time as Sir Hugh Taylor’s Accelerated Access Review will present its report and recommendations. An interim report, published in October, set out five propositions to speed up access to transformative health technology and interestingly the first of those is “putting the patient centre-stage”.

Sir Hugh said patients were “vital at every step of the innovation pathway and that they needed to be supported to better understand and drive forward decisions about their treatment and care”. His team are looking at a structure that will “systematically facilitate patient feedback on and awareness of innovative products, as well as give innovators better opportunities to hear from patients about the innovations they want and need”. Could the same be said about the CDF? Nope.

The other four propositions are ‘getting ahead of the curve’, ’supporting all innovators’, galvanising the NHS and ‘delivering change’. Admirable sentiments and the interim report is the result of input by over 600 people and organisations working right across the development pathway, including clinicians, patients, the life sciences industry and researchers. You can read the interim report here.

Sir Hugh says he will work with his review team “to flesh out these propositions in ways that will be effective and will make a real and lasting difference to patients, system users, business and the NHS”.  We wish him well.

“Real and lasting”, something that the CDF will never be. As with other old sticking plasters, the best place for it is the bin.

About the author

Kevin Grogan has almost 20 years experience as a journalist writing about the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors and was most recently senior news editor at PharmaTimes before going freelance earlier this year. He currently writes for a wide variety of publications on both sides of the Atlantic, advises companies about their communications strategies and often appears on television and radio to discuss the pharma industry. A fluent Spanish speaker, he likes Manchester United and listening to old men with funny voices, mainly Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.

Follow him at www.twitter.com/kevinatgrogan

Greg Woodley, Marketing and Communications Director at Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

Guest Post: #Beatboxcough

Greg Woodley, Marketing and Communications Director at Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
Greg Woodley, Marketing and Communications Director at Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

To everyone at Boehringer Ingleheim I would like to say thanks for supporting Lung Cancer Awareness month this November. We would also like to say a huge thanks to all those involved in the Beat Box Collective Cough Campaign for delivering a truly innovative and impactful campaign  which is really going to make a difference.    I’m the Marketing Director at Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and it is some of the best awareness work I’ve seen.  We’re the only Lung Cancer charity in the UK and we’ve been fighting lung cancer for 25 years – I’d like to tell you a little about one of the biggest cancer challenges the NHS faces.  Continue reading Guest Post: #Beatboxcough

Guest Post: Why blogging is essential for pharma

Paul Tunnah
Paul Tunnah

Solving problems is about collaboration – it’s about finding others with the right skills and inclination to help identify a solution. When people are asked about what they value most in life it’s not uncommon to hear ‘family’ and ‘health’ at the top of their mind, so it’s fair to assume that problems with our health are the most pressing ones we will ever face. Therefore, they are the most important areas for collaboration.

I would argue that many of the health problems facing society today, from chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes through to acute threats like cancer, can actually only be solved by collaboration across all the healthcare stakeholders. The pharma industry may be the one developing medicines, but the doctors and patients need to have access to them and use them effectively for them to have an impact. They are increasingly judged by their value in the real-world that we live in every day, not the clinical trial setting. Continue reading Guest Post: Why blogging is essential for pharma

Guest Post: My experience working with BI as an NHS Fellow

Fran Lowery
Fran Lowery

I am currently employed by the NHS working as a Cancer Services Manager at Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation NHS Trust (RDEFT) in Exeter. I was seeking a leadership development opportunity and applied for a 1-year NHS Fellow post with BI through the NHS Leadership Academy. Following a successful interview I started working with BI two days per week from 1 July, starting a fantastic opportunity to work with pharma to benefit patients and develop my leadership skills.

Over the past two months I have been warmly welcomed into BI by a variety of teams including the Brand Managers, Account Managers, training team, Public Affairs & Patient Advocacy and Market Access, Pricing and Outcomes Research. I have met a wide range of staff to discuss and understand the issues which BI faces, and offer advice or information aiming to help from an NHS viewpoint. I’ve been involved with a number of really interesting pieces of detailed work. This has included reviewing the commissioning process for one of BI’s medicines which is due to be launched soon. I have also being involved with service improvement days to review the business planning process. Taking the opportunity to review strategic documents and comment on them from an NHS perspective has been useful to try to help to align the language used by the NHS with BI.

Continue reading Guest Post: My experience working with BI as an NHS Fellow

Guest Post: Asthma UK’s Andrew Proctor on “When simplicity can save lives”

Tackling asthma review DNAs with surprisingly easy measures can save lives – and clinician stress

Andrew Proctor - Director of Advice and Support, Asthma UK
Andrew Proctor – Director of Advice and Support, Asthma UK

When former star of The Apprentice, Stuart Baggs died in the summer from an asthma attack at just 27 years of age, it caused ripples across the national news. Media interest focused on his celebrity and relatively young age, but also that he didn’t have a severe form of the condition. The sad truth is that this wasn’t an isolated incident – three people die from asthma every day. We know that every 10 seconds someone is having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. The National Review of Asthma Deaths published last year revealed that over half those who died were being treated for mild or moderate asthma, and many of these deaths could have been prevented with better routine asthma care. It’s frightening to witness a child, business colleague, friend or family member having an asthma attack, and utterly tragic when anyone loses a loved one through a preventable asthma attack.   Continue reading Guest Post: Asthma UK’s Andrew Proctor on “When simplicity can save lives”

Guest Post: Making More Health: a Fellow’s Story

Krystian Fikert
Krystian Fikert

As the founder and CEO of MyMind, and an Irish Ashoka fellow, I have been extremely grateful for the support provided by Boehringer Ingelheim under their Making More Health and Change Nation initiatives. BI’s commitment to social responsibility has helped MyMind to deliver on its mission of pioneering a new and sustainable model of community based and online mental health services that are accessible and affordable to everyone. MyMind’s social enterprise model uses the revenue generated by clients who are able to afford counselling and psychotherapy services to support reduced fees for those who are unemployed or full time students.

In 2012, Boehringer Ingelheim first recognised our innovative business model and began to assess how they could support our work. After identifying business development as an area that MyMind was under-resourced in, BI committed to providing us with a marketing executive-in-residence for 6 months. Rather than providing a once-off support that would not have a lasting impact, BI identified our limited business developm
ent expertise as an area where they could have a significant strategic influence. Thalita Guimaraes, a marketing executive from Boehringer Ingelheim Brazil, was nominated as an executive in residence for MyMind, and spent 6 months in our Dublin headquarters developing a business plan that formalised MyMind’s targets and projections. Due to the success of this venture, all following shared entreprises between BI and MyMind have incorporated BI’s strengths and capabilities with our strategic objectives.

Continue reading Guest Post: Making More Health: a Fellow’s Story