Partnership, whether local or strategic, must add value in order to be successful, especially in the rare disease space.
Partnership working between pharmaceutical companies and the NHS in the UK can be undertaken at many different levels. What we know about partnerships with the NHS is that they must add value in developing healthcare delivery and improving outcomes to ultimately benefit patients, whilst enabling the NHS to meet the requirements of its mandate and operate within its financial resources.
Over the last few years there’s been a real shift in pharma to delivering innovative medicines in the UK for patients with rare diseases, with partnerships a reality on many different levels – from the strategic level where there is a great opportunity for pharma to meet considerable unmet clinical needs in markets with very limited treatment options, through to the local level where for field-based pharma teams there can be series of different challenges regarding partnership around access/funding/implementation of treatments as there is a much smaller base of key healthcare professionals to engage.
The patient journey
Within the rare disease space specifically, diagnosis, treatment and management requires the highest level of partnership working to remove unnecessary barriers. Optimising the patient journey is paramount: the patient’s experience from their first contact with the NHS through to reaching a diagnosis and onto managing their condition and ongoing care.
By understanding the patient pathway in granular detail, we can pinpoint the value points of the pathway that can be improved to create value for the patient, the NHS and pharma. And in getting partnerships right and delivery of quality outcomes, there is the added benefit of building trust and confidence with the NHS. Within rare disease, the smaller number of NHS centres commissioned to treat specific conditions provides greater opportunities for closer collaboration and partnership working.
Dr Jonathan Hind BMedSci, BM, BS, FRCPCH, Consultant in Paediatric Hepatology, Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation, at King’s College Hospital, London, and Secretary-Treasurer Elect of the Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplant Association, describes how collaborative working between the NHS and industry can facilitate better understanding about rare diseases and how they can be best treated, whilst industry’s support for education and training programmes can enable health and social care professionals to better identify rare diseases to help deliver faster diagnosis and access to treatment pathways for patients.
“I have had a very positive working relationship working with Lee and Craig from Takeda, via legacy Shire. They always work in a collaborative fashion to help patients and to facilitate education on rare conditions. This has helped facilitate patients to get the care they need easily. The education aspect has enabled front-line staff to access educational opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t be able to,” he says. “I have also been able to talk to the wider team, which I hope was positive for those who don’t get to see the stories of the real-life patients behind the medications they work on.”
Positive partnership working between the NHS and pharma can be synergistic and should lead to the delivery of enhanced patient care, improved outcomes for patients including increased access to innovative treatments, and positive working relationships.
Lee Simms is Account Lead, Internal Medicine, Takeda.
Craig Bradley is Product & Business Lead for Internal Medicine across the UK & Ireland, Takeda.
Go to www.takeda.com