Posts Tagged ‘ABPI’

Investing in Europe

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Encouraged by measures in the 2012 Budget to boost home-grown research and development, GlaxoSmithKline has announced its plan to invest more than £500 million in British manufacturing. The drug maker has also selected Ulverston in Cumbria as the site for its first new factory in almost 40 years, which will create up to 1,000 new jobs.  The Government has confirmed in the budget announcement that it will reduce the level of corporation tax applied to income from patents – known as a patent box. According to GlaxoSmithKline’s CEO Andrew Witty, “The introduction of the patent box has transformed the way in which we view the UK as a location for new investments, ensuring that the medicines of the future will not only be discovered, but can also continue to be made here in Britain.”

This initiative will decrease the tax rate in relation to other countries like US and Japan and effectively will refine the amount of investments in the UK. The Chancellor’s statement was also welcomed by Stephen Whitehead, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), who said the measures will help improve the UK’s general business environment and “allow pharmaceutical companies operating here to remain competitive in a global market. Specifically, moves towards a more competitive tax regime, including a further reduction of corporation tax so that the UK has among the lowest rates in Europe, are welcome”.

Significantly, last week’s news provided a real glimmer of hope to healthcare in Europe, which has been profoundly impacted by the austerity measures necessitated by the current economic crisis. The pharmaceutical industry has been particularly hard hit as the measures have had a significant effect on both drug innovation and pricing. Pfizer’s retreat from Sandwich, a site it’s owned since the 1950s, and the relocation of Shire Pharmaceuticals to Ireland provide high-profile examples of how pharma companies have been forced to cut back operations in Europe and focus instead on countries such as the US and Japan where attitudes towards research and development have, until now, been seen to be more favourable.

Evidently, none of us know what the future holds. Nevertheless, it will be important for healthcare communications to keep an eye on the developing situation and change with the times. No doubt our greatest responsibility though will be to reassure stakeholders, particularly patients, throughout the process of change.

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Is society demanding more open communications?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Last week’s survey by the University of Essex along with the ongoing Leveson inquiry into press ethics is prompting interesting questions about society’s ethics and integrity and whether withholding information equates to dishonesty. Whilst Pharma is undoubtedly one of the most tightly regulated industries, there is still a historical perception that we are not as open and transparent as we could be. Obviously it is a difficult balance to strike, given that we can’t promote medicines to the general public. However, in this increasingly multimedia world where anyone is able to obtain (often misleading) information from a variety of sources at a click of a button, it is clear there is a need to provide timely, accurate and up to date information to all. To quote Nick Broughton from Pharmaceutical Ethics, ‘Don’t lie, don’t bribe, don’t try and sell what isn’t approved, don’t promote medicines to the people who don’t know enough about them (‘the public’), be transparent’. And as seen by the outrage in the news that the met police did not inform the victims of phone hacking as soon as they knew – sometimes some information is better than none.

Pharma leading the way in regulations?

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

There is little doubt that the pharmaceutical industry is one of the most tightly regulated industries. Quite rightly the regulations are there to protect patients and ensure efficacious and thoroughly tested products are developed and brought to market but now pharma companies face new challenges around transparency and building trust. The US is already preparing for the Sunshine Act, which comes into effect in 2013 and will ensure companies disclose interactions and payments to healthcare practitioners. Similarly, the UK has seen the revised UK Bribery Act which came into force in April 2011. Despite the legislation and increased regulatory enforcement designed to prevent corruption and bribery and transform the image of pharma, the perception of the industry remains less than positive.

Other industries that have recently come under similar scrutiny include the media and financial sectors. The current Leveson inquiry is examining journalistic practice and story sourcing and the roles of the media and police in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. The inquiry hopes to investigate the nature of contacts between the press and politicians and the press and the police. It is certainly clear that the regulatory regime for media conduct has fallen short at times but the extent of this failure is yet to be fully determined.

Whilst questions abound of the extent and scope of independent Vs self regulation, the pharma industry is forging ahead with clear and transparent practices and ethics set out and robust frameworks for interactions with healthcare professionals, leading experts and government officials put in place. With the ethics of the British media and financial worlds currently under question, it may be time for other industries to step up to the mark pharma has set?

Why EU restrictions on health information are good for pharma AND patients

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Last week a huge majority of MEP votes signalled a change to the provision of information on prescription drugs to patients in EU member states. While direct-to-consumer advertising is quite rightly already banned in the EU, there was a lack of consistency in the way rules on patient information provision were interpreted by individual countries. As a result of the vote, two key changes were proposed:

– Broadcast and print media will be banned by law from providing information on prescription medicines (though there is a caveat to this below)

– Healthcare professionals will not publicly be able to give any information on prescription drugs to patients unless they declare links with pharmaceutical companies.


Digital pharma: Innovation is possible with an open, community focused approach

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

The PM Society’s Digital Update meeting held last week made it clear we might be waiting some time for official guidance from the PMCPA on what pharma can do online, with no changes to the ABPI Code confirmed any time soon. As Dominic Tyer outlines in his InPharm article, the reasons for this are directly linked to wider legislative issues. However, there are clear but unofficial ‘suggestions’ as to what pharma could legitimately explore online which could help guide a path to innovation – a value most forward-looking businesses aspire to, pharma included.


Drug shortages: Is this our patient-centred NHS?

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Earlier this week the Health Service Journal exposed an NHS Trust that showed us just how big a problem drug shortages are and how this situation has developed. According to the HSJ, the Royal Surrey County Hospital Foundation Trust made “tens of millions” of pounds last year through exporting drugs for a profit which were purchased at discounted prices for NHS use only. Paul Biddle, the foundation’s finance director, claimed that they were always encouraged to be ‘entrepreneurial’ by Monitor, the hospital regulator. So what does this episode tell us about how ‘patient-centric’ our NHS really is?


Is NICE beating pharma in the drugs pricing war?

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

By reading the headline earlier this week in The Independent you would think so… The story was all around pharma lowering their price for the soft tissue sarcoma drug trabectedin. However, the revelation was that it was the third time in the past year that companies have lowered the price of cancer drugs to receive NICE approval. So is this an example of a wider ‘drugs pricing war’?


Innovative drugs to bypass NICE approval

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Plans for a three-year ‘Innovation Pass’ which would increase patient access to innovative drugs through by-passing NICE are progressing well. The consultation process is now open, and closes on 8 February 2010. If you represent the pharma industry, the NHS, patient groups, or a similar stakeholder, you might want to feed into this, especially since it could all effect us one way or another when the scheme launches. But what could it look like when the process is complete?

ABPI acts on pharmacy medicines export issue

Friday, August 28th, 2009

You walk into the pharmacy expecting to obtain the medicines that keep you physically healthy, mentally stable or even simply alive. The pharmacist has run out. You panic, then you get angry. In most cases, the pharmacist suggests you return to obtain a similar drug after your GP writes a new prescription. You survive the ordeal, although still feel shaken up and want to either find blame or at least find out why the situation came about in the first place. You could blame pharma for not providing enough medicines, perhaps for financial reasons. However, the ABPI has done well to explain the situation in its medicines supply briefing and clearly highlight the problem is not due to its members’ inadequate supply of medicines. So where else do you place the blame?