Better comms needed for breast cancer drugs creation

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Better communication between medical and pharma sectors essential to optimise all aspects of breast cancer care

* Improved data management a key factor to improve breast cancer treatment
* UK drugs policy is flawed and needs a radical shift in focus

10 August 2017

Better communication between medical and pharmaceutical sectors is essential if breast cancer outcomes are to be improved, according to a white paper from Pink Ribbon.

Published today, Breast Cancer Drugs Funding and Trials, arises out of the Pink Ribbon drugs funding & trials conference, held at the faculty of pharmaceutical medicine on 23 March 2017. It found that the UK would benefit from enhanced communication between:

  • Pharma, regulators and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) – to expedite drug and pricing approval;
  • Regulators, NICE and hospitals – to allow hospitals time to prepare for new drugs, for example through horizon scanning, with transparency on costs, efficacy and safety profile;
  • Pharma and trials database creators, for example, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) – to ensure information on clinical trials is effectively disseminated to those patients who may wish to take part.

The white paper also argues that the UK needs better communication:

…of raw data on patients, outcomes and trials to NHS England, and processed and analysed data from NHS England to all who can use it to benefit drug treatment, for example hospitals, researchers and pharma.

…between academia and pharma, and between pharma companies themselves. More collaboration to facilitate best use of different drugs (either using in combination or using for new indications).

… around using artificial intelligence initiatives as an effective tool for interrogating available data to ensure no key efficacy signals are lost (while retaining data privacy).

Gerard Dugdill, Pink Ribbon Publishing Director says: “wide-spread, consistent data capture and sharing have the potential to make a huge difference to outcomes. While concerns around privacy and proprietary and sensitive data are important, the so-called move to “big data” creates opportunities which we must take advantage of.”

Dr Kathleen Thompson, pharmaceutical physician, author of ‘From Both Ends of the Stethoscope’, and contributor to the white paper says: “collaboration initiatives between the NHS, industry and other bodies have started to yield good results. We want these to continue and expand to ensure effective use of new treatments”.


* Pink Ribbon is a growing international network for breast cancer prevention and cure, seeking to help eliminate all breast cancer-related deaths.

In the UK, its current focus includes an annual conference called the Breast Cancer Forum, held in association with the Royal Society of Medicine, along with other specialist events, online news and information, networking, lobbying and social media.

* The next conference is on 15 September 2017, and will focus on screening, metastatic breast cancer and living with and beyond breast cancer. Visit

* For more information and interviews, please contact Tom Collinge,

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About Author

Pink Ribbon is the new global charity seeking to make breast cancer-related deaths are a thing of the past. It focuses on political lobbying and campaigning, and the showcase Pink Ribbon awards. Global MD Gerard Dugdill

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