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How can pharma help doctors in treating prostate cancer?

Joint working projects are one area that has proved helpful

How can pharma help doctors in treating prostate cancer?While a number of new treatments have been introduced in recent years, there is still plenty of scope for improving the outlook for patients suffering from prostate cancer – particularly in the advanced stages of the disease. 

However, member Dr Danish Mazhar, who is a consultant medical oncologist at Addenbrookes Hospital, says that availability and access to new drugs on the NHS is a key issue.  

He explained: “Most of these new agents have a very high price. I'd like to see a more realistic framework for prices because it is inevitable that pricing will have a big impact on whether NICE will approve them. I'd also like to see more access through shared risk schemes and compassionate use programmes, which can make a big difference to patients.”

Joint working projects between pharma and the NHS, such as audits and service evaluations and local research projects, have been helpful, especially when it is difficult to get funding from NHS sources, says Dr Mazhar. Pharma companies have also been supportive of educational programmes, especially in disease areas where they have relevant drugs.  

In addition to disseminating information about drugs to primary care professionals, Dr Mazhar would like to see pharma providing education for GPs, who frequently monitor the toxicity and side effects of new drugs. 

While the NHS has had help from companies in carrying out audits of drugs and their usage in order to comply with NICE guidance, Dr Mazhar believes the industry can also help with more far-reaching, wider service evaluation, which might, for instance, build up a picture of treatment options. 

He said: “There are a few specific areas of service development where companies could provide help.  Patients taking certain prostate cancer medicines need to have specific toxicity testing, which means they visit clinic quite regularly. Our main clinics are choc-full with other patients, so maybe some of those needing tests could be moved to a different clinic, led by a nurse specialist, for example.

“Pharma companies could help us establish a business case for setting this up as putting in this bid for funding to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) takes a lot of time and effort. I think it would be a step too far for pharma to fund this nurse provision directly, but providing administrative support to help build a business case would be invaluable since this sort of project is inevitably a lower priority amid all the other clinical priorities.”

Article by
Dr Tim Ringrose, CEO of M3 Europe

For more information on M3, the global provider of technology services in healthcare, and its new European Division which includes www.doctors.,, and www.networksinhealth .com, please call Tim Ringrose on +44 (0)1235 828400, or email Tim.

17th June 2014

From: Marketing, Healthcare



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