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NHS spotlight

BHBIA seminar looks at how NHS changes are affecting pharma

The British Healthcare Business Intelligence Association (BHBIA) hosted its winter seminar on December 11, entitled: "The NHS – swinging at 60 or over the hill?" According to BHBIA committee member Kate Marlar, 2008 was a monumental year for the NHS, and so the aim of this event was to evaluate how changes within the NHS have affected pharma.

Keynote speaker Michael Sobanja, chief executive of the NHS Alliance, identified differences between the NHS of 1948 and what it is now, predicting that the next five years will be characterised by real reductions following the last 10 years of financial growth. Sobanja also speculated that in five years, 15–20 per cent of heath services provision will be in the hands of the private sector and that in order to maintain their business interests, private sector partners will need to start focusing more on how they can add value in improving health.

There will also be a shift from secondary to primary care, in line with government's strategy to emphasise prevention rather than cure. Hospitals will change the way they operate, there will be regionalisation of trauma centres and primary care will be much more managed – that is to say GPs will be brought more into the fold. According to Mr Sobanja: "An opportunity exists for pharma to add to the healthcare agenda and become a real partner. The alternative is to be seen strictly as a provider that leaves its product at the door."

Other speakers included PMCPA director, Heather Simmonds, who discussed how the ABPI Code has evolved over 50 years; Dr Stephen Godwin and Hannah Osborn, respectively group research director and research executive at Synovate Healthcare, who described the sheer diversity of the NHS; and Anthony Knight from FRSA Consultancy Services, who spoke about the changing face of medical selling, revealing how the industry had moved from the 'pinstripe' era, where doctors were keen to keep up with developments and welcomed reps with a cup of tea, to the 'Prada' age where turning products into a 'must-have brand' is key.

14th January 2009

From: Healthcare

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