Medicine bottles on a production line

Newly-launched NHS Commercial Framework to offer ‘welcome clarity’

The publication of a new NHS Commercial Framework for New Medicines has been welcomed by the industry as a way of providing clarity, support and a route to quicker adoption for new medicines.

The commercial framework was part of a commitment outlined by NHS England in the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access, which would set out more operational detail on the commercial arrangements with the pharmaceutical industry.

The newly-outlined commercial framework:

  • Outlines the purpose and principles on which NHS commercial medicines activity will be based.
  • Defines the roles and responsibilities of those involved in commercial medicines activity and detailing how pharmaceutical companies can engage with the NHS.
  • Clarifies the routes to routine commissioning in the NHS, and where commercial activity can occur in those routes.
  • Outlines commercial flexibilities, and circumstances where they could be considered.

The draft framework was developed by NHS England, in conjunction with expertise from partners including NICE, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Office for Life Sciences.

It is intended to set out existing arrangements and provide further operational detail in a complimentary manner to the previously-released Voluntary Scheme.

In response to the framework’s publication, Chief Executive of the ABPI, Richard Torbett, said: “Today’s publication of the NHS commercial framework for new medicines provides welcome clarity on how companies can partner with the NHS and NICE to get new medicines to the patients who need them.

“As more new medicines are discovered, we need a system that can provide the right commercial flexibilities and that supports faster uptake and adoption of new treatments.

“The Framework provides important recognition of this, and the ABPI will work closely with NHS England as the Framework is reviewed and developed over time.”

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