Joint working is key to medicines optimisation

Dr Charles Alessi web The importance of NHS-industry partnership for medicines optimisation has been underlined by experts on pharmacy management.

Speakers at the Pharmacy Management National Seminar on 17 April argued that the growing prevalence of long-term conditions (LTC) made it vital for pharma and the NHS to work together in improving sub-optimal medication regimes.

The growing role of community pharmacists in guiding patient decisions on medication was also discussed at an event that brought together pharmacists and the pharma industry.

Keynote speaker Dr Charles Alessi (pictured), Chairman of the National Association of Primary Care, said that GPs were not meeting the clinically and economically vital challenge of medicines optimisation.

“We are in an age of personalisation, of trying to understand value and of dealing with mixtures of clinical conditions,” he said.

But poor follow-up of patient outcomes was resulting in 50% of people with LTC ceasing to take any medication within a year, while “we glibly go on thinking that’s all right”.

Joint working was an important way forward, he argued, with pharma companies helping doctors to address issues such as medicines interaction and compliance.

Dr Alessi also noted that community pharmacists were emerging as the “best placed” healthcare professionals to help people with LTC manage their medication.

Peter Rowe, former national QIPP lead for medicines use and procurement, warned that continuing austerity would mean no additional funding to deal with the “demographic time bomb” of the ageing population.

Medicines optimisation was essential, he said – and the changes had to be fundamental, not incremental. That meant “the NHS must work with pharma to better monitor patient outcomes”.

Other speakers discussed the common interest of industry and the NHS in patient compliance with treatment; and conversely, the need for doctors to help patients move on from unsuccessful treatments.