The use of brokers to mediate NHS drug purchasing drains money from both sides while creating barriers to innovation, the ABPI has said.
The industry trade association has made a very strong statement against the role of third-party suppliers and consultancies between pharma and the NHS.
According to Stephen Whitehead, CEO of the ABPI, “middle-men” reduce purchasing to a mechanistic level that runs contrary to the joint working ethos.
The ABPI’s statement is a response to the growing use of third parties to broker commercial dialogue around medicines in NHS primary and secondary care.
In its new policy statement on tendering and brokerage, the ABPI argues the use of broker services may:
• stop pharmaceutical companies developing “direct, dynamic and sustainable key customer relationships”
• hold back the development of direct strategic partnerships and joint working projects between companies and NHS organisations
• reinforce a perception of pharmaceutical companies as “commodity providers of products” rather than “value-adding partners”
• accelerate “value extraction” from the medicines supply chain, making it harder for companies to generate ROI.
“Brokers are draining money from the healthcare system – in the long term they will save the NHS far less than they will cost, and they are a huge drain on funds for the pharmaceutical industry too,” commented Whitehead.
“The industry and the NHS need to work together more and more, so direct communication between us is key. We need to ensure that we strengthen our relationships, and it is difficult to do that if we communicate though middle-men.”