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National Health Services Reform Bill – More Painful than Passing a Stone

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The National Health Services (NHS) Reform and Social Care Bill [[wysiwyg_imageupload:117:]]
completed its rocky journey through parliament on Tuesday night. The Bill is one of the most complex pieces of health legislation ever to go through the legislator process and will lead to the biggest programme of reform since the NHS was established over 60 years ago.

Of most relevance to UK patients is the provision for treatment and referral decisions to be made by General Practitioners (GPs) instead of by NHS managers. GPs will therefore be responsible for the commissioning of services in primary and secondary care (with the exception of a few major services such as maternity) and are consequently likely to be much more interested in extracting value and better outcomes across the patient pathway from diagnosis through to treatment and managed care. Read full post »

In: Health Policy & Regulatory   /   filed under: NHS
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PR and Patent Cliffs 2012: Could We Be Seeing the End of “Big Pharma” as We Know It?

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[[wysiwyg_imageupload:108:]]As patent cliffs continue to crack and crumble into the sea and send shock waves through big pharma around the world, global healthcare PR strategists continue to train their skilled teams’ eyes and ears on the future trends of big pharma, urgently trying to discern the shape of the new emerging landmass to keep ahead of the game.

Over the next three years, six Big Pharma companies have more than half of their portfolio at risk due to patent expirations.  I’d imagine that this creates anxiety among communications agencies around the world asking what this all means for them and future revenue streams. Should we start prophesying that the end is nigh for “big pharma”? Long-term, can viable business models continue to be sustained around portfolios of products that have such short patent shelf lives? Read full post »

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Not So Nasty NICE?

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally contributed by Alexander Watson’s former London colleague and current Ketchum alum Anna Magee.


The UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has earned international praise for its rigorous approach to developing clinical guidelines. An editorial in a recent issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine details a new set of standards proposed by the American Institute of Medicine (IOM) that ‘trustworthy’ guidelines should meet, and holds NICE’s clinical guideline development process up as a rare example of an approach that comes close to meeting this benchmark.

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Working to Support Communications in pharmEmerging Markets: What Does the Near Future Hold for Us – Death or Glory?

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Having worked for 15 exciting, tough years in the PR agency
worl[[wysiwyg_imageupload:57:]]d supporting Big Pharma global communications in core markets I have felt my heart harden. I have also fashioned for my mind resilient armour that accepts the challenges of change and the breakneck pace of this amazing business environment.  I can see, however, that our next five years look set to be truly turbulent times.

Only proactive and passionate communication leaders who can confidently navigate a clear path through this storm will win.  Our clients are often asked to tighten purse strings. While we are called to work smarter in order to invest in much needed reconnaissance to help us shape new communications strategies and train our teams to meet the changing needs of our clients. Those who do not have an appetite for change may soon find themselves as stuffed exhibits in their local natural history museums.    Read full post »