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Don’t dismiss drug firms joint working

I was disappointed to read your recent article on joint working schemes between the pharmaceutical industry and the NHS. (Drug companies to work with CCGs on care pathways and case finding under DH-backed scheme)

Joint working was painted in overly simplistic terms with little acknowledgement of the benefits these projects can bring, or the money and time they can save.

It is not, as your article implies, about industry trying to unduly influence clinical decision making – there are rules in place that strictly regulate joint-working projects.

There is also no basis for the claim that pharmaceutical companies are somehow buying influence through these projects.

Both the NHS and the company involved must make significant contributions to a project – in the case study in your article, the NHS funding considerably outweighed that provided by industry.

Joint working was not an idea conceived and driven by industry. Rather, it has had equal backing from the Department of Health since its inception.

Where innovative joint working projects benefit patients, we shouldn’t dismiss the good work done on their behalf based on old prejudices and outdated stereotypes.

From Stephen Whitehead, ABPI chief executive