The Commercial Medicines Unit (CMU)

The CMU supports the NHS and other external stakeholders in areas of medicines contracting and procurement.

These include:

  • homecare medicines
  • branded medicines
  • generic medicines
  • dose banding
  • blood products
  • nutrition / enteral products
  • childhood and other vaccines (UK wide)
  • pharmaceutical countermeasures
  • delivery of procurement
  • savings
  • securing the benefits of the transition from branded to off patent medicines
  • information and analysis of expenditure
  • electronic flow of data
  • automation
  • electronic trading
  • coding
  • Supply Chain excellence

From September 2014, the CMU web pages will be hosted in two areas – the first is the website.

The rest are reference materials, which have been archived but can be accessed on the National Archives website.

Please check this page for future updates

Contact Details and where to find us.

CMU team responsibilities

CMU – Reading office:
Premier House
60 Caversham Road
Reading, RG1 7EB

Directions to the Reading office.

CMU – Runcorn Office:
2 Floor, Rutland House
Runcorn, WA7 2ES

Directions to the Reading office.

Updates on the NHS eProcurement strategy- Pharmacy perspective

  1. Standards: Use of
  • GS1 standards (coding of products, suppliers, locations and even individuals)
  • PEPPOL (for transferring purchase orders, advice notes, and invoices) Pan-European Public Procurement Online.
  1. Suppliers are required to place product data into a GS1 certified datapool (GDSN).  The use of GTIN as a standard approach to product coding is mandatory
  2. DH will establish a national Product Information Management system (PIM) to integrate master product data from the GS1 datapool with local NHS provider catalogue solutions
  3. All Trusts will be required to develop a plan for GS1 and PEPPOL compliance by 31 March 2015
  4. Adoption of the strategy and in particular GS1 standards will form the basis of UDI approach
  5. Each Trust is requested to nominate a senior champion to lead on the overall adoption of the strategy recognising it stretches far wider than Procurement and supplies management.

A key outcome from adopting the strategy will be clean and consistent data enabling informed decision making both within a given Trust and then consistently across multiple NHS Provider organisations

What does this mean for Hospital Pharmacy procurement?

The eProcurement strategy is for the whole of the NHS. Adoption of GS1 standards and in particular the application of bar codes on product packaging has been underway across Pharmaceutical suppliers and organisations for a number of years.

Similarly, Hospital Pharmacies have been working with GHX on the development, roll out and use the Pharmacy Messaging Service – a portal for electronic orders and invoices, for some time. For more information see the UK Pharmacy Messaging Service (UKPMS).

  • Implementation of GS1 standards across the trust.
  • GHX will be PEPPOL compliant by April 2015.

Actions for Pharmacy

  1. Improve take-up of eInvoicing for pharmacy procurement.
    eOrdering is well established- around 90% of products are ordered electronically, whereas only 20% of products are eInvoiced
  2. Implement use of Global Location Numbers
    Trust departments to work together with a GS1 lead, to create their own strategy to identify all sites within the trust with GLN- global location numbers. The GS1 lead should be a member of the Trust workforce.
  3. Use of GTINs- Global Trader ID numbers for all products and services
    Pharmaceuticals carry GTINs for 98% of products. Any pharmacy compounding or in house  manufacturing will need to carry GTINs. Separate GTINs will be needed for each level of product packaging.

Coming soon

  • Updated news about Homecare strategy
  • Support for Hospital Pharmacy- Commercial Medicines Unit CMU