Committee report to benefit health PROs

Healthcare PR professionals could play a greater role in drug development processes under recommendations made by the Commons Health Select Committee last week.

The committee's report on the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) was published on 10 January. A key proposal is that NICE should assess all medicines at launch so clinicians can prescribe useful and cost-effective drugs as soon as they are available.

Edelman head of healthcare public affairs Kate Eden said the recommendations would create more opportunities for the PR industry to get involved in a drugs process much earlier.

She said: 'Increasingly companies recognise the need to involve comms at an earlier stage in the product development process, and if the proposed recommendations result in earlier evaluation then this cements the need for integration.'

But Jamie Holyer, MD of healthcare public affairs agency Advocate, said lobbyists would be the main beneficiaries. He said: 'Public affairs agencies would be invited to have more political input from an earlier stage.'

But the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry expressed concern that the proposal would lead to 'quick and dirty' assessments of medicines.

NICE chairman Michael Rawlins said the body would discuss the recommendations with the Department of Health.

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