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Review of Access to New Medicines


4 Engagement Process

4.1 The intention of this Review was not to undertake a detailed scientific analysis. The intention was to seek the views of a wide variety of stakeholders through engagement events, small scale meetings and written submissions and then bring these views together, analyse and present them and use them to inform the conclusions and recommendations of the report. The request was to make the process rapid and "light touch" and not to disrupt the ongoing business of SMC.

4.2 Much of the discussion that took place with stakeholders however was not easily accommodated within the precise criteria of the scope as specified and attempts have been made to place issues, discussion and recommendations in the most appropriate section; where this has proved difficult cross references have been provided. Given the importance of data to the Review a separate section on Data has been incorporated.

4.3 Two engagement events were held. The first, on 21 March, attracted 94 stakeholders and the proposed Review process was explained. There were also presentations from SMC, patient groups and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry. Attendees were given the opportunity to complete forms commenting on their experience of the new approach and their hopes for the Review. The second event took place on 15 July and on this occasion 57 people attended. This event took the form of a progress report and an interactive workshop where stakeholders were asked to comment on some of the more difficult issues emerging from the Review.

4.4 Over the period from March to August the Review had a series of small stakeholder meetings ranging from meetings with individual patients, Patient Interest Groups, Academics, professionals working within the NHS including pharmacists and clinical leads of the cancer networks and with ABPI Scotland. Meetings were also arranged with the health spokespersons of the Holyrood Political Parties. In all over 100 people were involved in this part of the engagement process.

4.5 The Review received 48 written responses from a similar range of stakeholders as had engaged in the small meetings.

4.6 The author also attended meetings of SMC, the New Drugs Committee (NDC) and PACE as an observer.

4.7 As was to be expected a wide range of perspectives was reflected but opinions were perhaps less diverse than might have been anticipated with a general consensus that the changes implemented through the new approach were welcome, appeared to have increased access but would benefit from further development.

4.8 Many of the responses to the Review went into considerable technical detail in relation to the issues under consideration. It is beyond the scope of the Review to replicate that detail in this report but it is important as the recommended actions are progressed that those stakeholders are engaged and every attempt made to ensure that the process benefits from their expertise and enthusiasm.