The Pharma Challenge, organised by the Cancer Vanguard, saw 22 companies from the pharmaceutical industry present ideas for improving patient outcomes to a panel of cancer experts. Six of these ideas were chosen for implementation.
These included Sandoz’s biosimilar educational materials which have already improved healthcare professionals’ understanding of medicines, resulting in the introduction of the first biosimilars in haemotology and oncology. Biosimilar medicines are biological medicines which are highly similar to another biological medicine already licensed for use. More than 50% of all Rituximab medication in the NHS is now using a biosimilar and it is anticipated that the NHS could save around £65m a year through its use.
Other chosen projects included new chemotherapy medicines from the biotechnology firm Amgen that can be delivered closer to home in local hospitals and GP surgeries or in patients’ homes, and a toolkit enabling NHS organisations to deliver out-of-hospital administration of denosumab, a medication used to help prevent serious bone problems that sometimes affect breast cancer patients.