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Assassin or ally?

Our blogger at the coalface, Dr Clive Henderson, on how commissioners need to see the big picture when dealing with pharma companies.

Pharma has a new tack in dealing with general practice. It is offering us services and support rather than meals out and foreign trips. Oh goody!

Our most recent approach was regarding patients with constipation. The pharma company is offering us proactive management, education and audit - emissions to prevent admissions.As commissioners we need to flush out less cost effective pharma schemes from the system or risk further strain on resources without satisfactory outcomes. Rather like dealing with the trusts at present, it can feel like collaborative jousting.

I have worked with pharma from both ends of the alphabet and had some excellent symbiotic results. But we must still be cautious not to accept Trojan Horse schemes. Obviously we want pharma to be profitable to pay for proper product research, without which I would be a homeopathetic practitioner. Profitable but not profiteers.

I have been to meetings recently where sponsored respiratory projects trumpet their deserved success but disappointingly forgot to present increased drug cost outcomes. We need the whole picture.

I think commissioners could do with a website feedback mechanism, a ‘trip-adviser' for their journey with each pharma project given reviews to highlight if we are being taken for a ride.

The new constipation initiative does sound like a goer ,however, and I would hate to dump it out of misplaced scepticism.

Dr Clive Henderson is chair of Goole, Howden and West Wolds locality commissioning group

Dr Clive Henderson Dr Clive Henderson