The UK's Public Accounts Committee has reopened the debate into the need for better patient outcomes data with a damning report on the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).
The report, published in February 2016, says it is 'unacceptable' that, six years after the CDF was set up, the DH and NHS England still do not have data to evaluate its impact on patient outcomes.
When the CDF was introduced in 2010, the DH 'encouraged' trusts to collect data to provide evidence of how drugs were performing in clinical practice. This became mandatory in April 2014. However, Public Accounts Committee research reveals that significant gaps in data remain; 93% of records examined for 2014/15 contain no outcomes summary. This is perhaps no surprise – NHS organisations have neither the capacity nor capability to capture real world outcomes data. But pharmaceutical companies do – and they are perfectly placed to help the NHS improve medicines optimisation.
Although there is a wider debate around whether drug companies should be expected to foot the entire bill for the collection of outcomes data, there's no doubt that it's in pharma's own interest to do more with RWE. As healthcare leaders, payers and the public question the cost of medicines, the Public Accounts Committee report shows once again why pharma needs to work harder to demonstrate the value and societal impact of its innovations.
In reality, many pharma companies have adapted their operations to develop processes and strategies to collect RWE for their medicines. However, too few companies do much to shout about it, leaving the industry wide open to persistent criticism of their 'high-cost drugs'.
In the heat of the debate, the important distinction between 'cost' and 'value' gets lost. But it's a distinction that UK pharma must do more to underline, not only in cancer but all other major therapy areas. Companies' ongoing development of RWE and health outcomes data is likely to play a hugely important role in making the argument stick.
This year, UK pharmaceutical companies have the opportunity to show how their life-changing medicines have made a positive difference to patient outcomes. UK Prix Galien, the UK instalment of an international Awards programme that's widely revered as a Nobel Prize for pharmaceutical research, has expanded to include a new award that recognises excellence in Real World Evidence. In 2016, the category is open to medicines that have won or received a commendation at previous UK Prix Galien Awards.
The introduction of the Real World Evidence Award is an important milestone in the evolution of UK Prix Galien. Evidence of effectiveness in the real world setting is now a key component in the evaluation of any new medicine. It's therefore right that we should applaud and reward pharmaceutical companies' endeavours to capture this vital information.
Prix Galien provides a great showcase for UK pharma companies to demonstrate the considerable contribution its innovations make to patient care. Alongside the new RWE Award, prestigious Prix Galien medals are also awarded in two other categories; Orphan Product and Innovative Product.
Registration to enter the 2016 UK Awards closes on 29th February – so time is running out for brands teams to get the credit they deserve. For full details, visit prixgalien.co.uk