The Cancer Vanguard established a Joint Medicines Optimisation Group that includes representatives from each of the three local delivery systems. The aim of the group is to help transform the clinical model of delivery in terms of provision of cancer medicines.

Part of its work is to address and implement recommendations from the Independent Cancer Taskforce on improving access to chemotherapy and systemic medicines for cancer. This includes delivering chemotherapy closer to patients, particularly in community settings.

To achieve this, the Cancer Vanguard established a Pharma Challenge. Pharmaceutical companies were invited to submit proposals to improve the availability and delivery of cancer drugs which were judged by a panel of chief pharmacists, nurses, clinicians, health science and other professionals.

The Challenge required companies to meet the full cost of the projects themselves and demonstrate wider benefit to the NHS. Vanguard representatives worked with the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries and the Ethical Medicines Industry Group to invite their members to submit proposals, and around 40 proposals were received.

The following pharmaceutical companies and projects were chosen by the panel and a joint working agreement has been established:

  • Amgen – a model for out-of-hospital administration of denosumab
  • Celgene – an interactive medicines optimisation and compliance dashboard and evaluation framework
  • QuintilesIMS – analysing medicine usage data and quantifying the costs associated with unwarranted variation
  • Sandoz – improving the uptake of biosimilars through an education and engagement programme

One other project was shortlisted and further details will be published in due course.