The pharmaceutical industry needs to address the gap between discovery and invention, delegates at the 2011 NICE annual conference heard.
In a session entitled ‘Working better together: The NHS and the life sciences industry’, Patrick Valance, Senior Vice President, Medicines Development and Discovery, GSK (pictured), argued that the increases in biomedical understanding over the last few years have not translated into an increase in new medicines.
He went on to say that the industry needs to develop medicines for areas of unmet need to rebuild trust and that many companies are looking to niche patient groups within wider disease areas to do that.
Valance, also said that, although there will always be competing interests, the NHS and the industry have “more common aims than is often realised”, as everyone wants drugs that will make a difference.
Mark Wilkinson, Director of Life Sciences Innovation at NHS North West, who was also involved in the session, pointed out that the need for increased trust is a “two-way street”, as the industry also needs to have confidence in NHS payers that its innovative drugs will be used.
He also expressed optimism that communication and collaboration with the industry would improve once GP commissioning comes into effect, as GPs are a group used to working with pharma professionals.
Earlier in the conference, delegates heard how Sir Michael Rawlins intends to integrate health and social care services in his final 12-months as Chairman of NICE.
Addressing the conference for the 12th time, the Chairman said he “strongly supports” health and social care services working closely together in the future and he “relished the challenge” of creating a closer working environment.
“It is crucial that we join up health and social care services to prevent another case of neglect like Victoria Climbie,” said Professor Rawlins.
“We will be doing social care in most of the areas where we have already done a guideline. But the evidence base will be different so we are in a learning and listening mode at the moment.”
Professor Rawlins went on to say he had “no problem” with the introduction of value-based pricing and was proud of the Institute’s development under his chairmanship.
“We have produced over 800 individual pieces of guidance over the last 12 years,” he added. “From 1999- 2010 we produced 204 technology appraisals, and contrary to popular belief we only say no in about 10% of cases.
“We have also produced 130 clinical guidelines, 380 pieces of guidance on interventional procedures and 31 pieces of public health guidance which have had real traction in helping to improve healthcare.”