Westminster Health Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Priorities for biosimilars in the NHS - development, regulation, commissioning and improving engagement


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference examines key issues for the use and uptake of biosimilars in the NHS.

The conference comes with the finalisation of guidance for the licensing of biosimilars in the UK following the end of the transition from the EU, and with the drive within the NHS to reduce medicine costs and achieve value for money.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Dr Christian Schneider, Interim Chief Scientific Officer, MHRA; Mark Samuels, Chief Executive, British Biosimilars Association; and Professor Brian Godman, Visiting Professor, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde - and further contributions from the ABPI; Conclusio; the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions; IQVIA; the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society; and The Patients Association.

The chairs are Chris Green MP, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Medical Research and Rt Hon the Lord Lansley, former Secretary of State for Health.

Areas for discussion include:

  • opportunities and next steps for biosimilar development as the UK establishes its own regulatory framework following exit from the EU
  • priorities for competition, pricing and access
  • progress in achieving value for money and reducing costs through the use of biosimilars
  • the role of commissioning and the use of incentives in uptake and cost-effectiveness, as well as tackling variation, improving clinician confidence in prescribing, and patient awareness

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DHSC; the MHRA; BEIS; the DIT; the Government Legal Department; the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control; the Office for Life Sciences; and The Scottish Government.

The agenda

  • The future for regulation of biosimilars
  • Priorities for biosimilars and their use going forward
  • Development and use of biosimilars - UK priorities for competition, pricing and access, and for tackling challenges in bringing products to market
  • Improving medicines value for money in the NHS and the role of biosimilars - assessing progress so far
  • Improving access and adoption of biosimilars within the NHS
  • Commissioning and incentivising the use of biosimilars - improving clinician confidence in prescribing, supporting patient awareness, and tackling barriers to delivery

 Areas for discussion:

  • Brexit:
    • impact - assessing what it means for opportunities and challenges in advancing the development and use of biosimilars, and how they can be realised
    • future relationships - including with the European Medicines Agency
  • regulation:
    • efficacy trials - implications of MHRA guidance on biosimilars approval that removes the need for evaluation of effectiveness in most instances
    • speed to market - the potential impact of the guidance on improving the time it takes for product rollout, and the potential for earlier launches in the UK
    • the impact of proposals in the White Paper - with proposed changes allowing the MHRA to maintain publicly financed medicine registries to improve evidence-based decision making
  • supporting the development of biosimilars - assessing priorities, addressing barriers, and options for what more can be done, including:
    • the role of initiatives such as the Accelerated Access Collaborative
    • support - evaluating the support provided to pharmaceutical companies bringing new products to market, including those outlined in the NHS Commercial Framework for New Medicines
  • pricing and competition - looking at the biosimilars market going forward, strategies for supporting competition, and the impact of the voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing and access
  • cost reduction and value for money in the NHS:
    • the impact of increased use of biosimilars - areas of success, remaining challenges, and strategies moving forward for securing consistent cost reductions across the country
    • impact of increased integration - considering the likely impact on the use of biosimilars of the ICS taking over some responsibility for drug budgets
    • next steps - the potential for future commitments, and the use of biosimilars in line with NHS Long Term Plan ambitions to maximise the value for money spent on medicines, as well as speeding up patient access to innovation and the adoption process
  • commissioning - including the use of incentives to accelerate the use of biosimilars:
    • progress in clinician engagement and what more can be done to improve confidence and understanding
    • use of gain sharing agreements
    • alignment of incentives between CCGs and trusts
  • patient awareness and engagement:
    • development of patient-centred care delivery - issues and best practice for improving patient understanding of biosimilars and switching treatments, including starting discussions earlier
    • implementation - including the practicalities of reviewing care plans at pace and scale when a biosimilar with the potential to affect a large number of patients becomes available
    • information - the role of education materials from pharmaceutical companies, and further ways of improving accessibility and understanding
  • tackling variation:
    • regional medicine optimisation committees - their role, and the opportunities for working at a systems level with integrated care in addressing unwarranted variation
    • levelling up - what more can be done to achieve consistency in the adoption and use of biosimilars across the country

Relevant developments at a glance:

  • Guidance on licensing biosimilars, ATMPs and PMFs:
    • from the MHRA, published as the transition period from the EU ended
    • with final guidance expected shortly following recent consultation, including a key change in the removal of the need for efficacy trials in most instances
  • Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all - the Government white paper on the future of health and care, with proposals to improve safety and quality of regulation, as well as reforms to support efficiency, innovation and integration
  • NHS Commercial Framework for New Medicines - NHS England’s guidance, outlining the basis for commercial medicine activity and a way for pharmaceutical companies to work with the NHS to get approval for new medicine
  • the NHS Long Term Plan - including ambitions to improve value for money in spending on medicines, as well as improving patient access to innovation
  • the Accelerated Access Collaborative - expanded in 2019 to identify and speed up approval, access and use of innovative health technologies
  • Life sciences industrial strategy update - from the Office for Life Sciences, committing to maximising the flexibility of regulation for innovation, as well as the utilisation of data
  • Commissioning framework for biological medicines - from NHS Clinical Commissioners, and NHS England and NHS Improvement, including the commitment to a reduction of £300m on medicines spending by 2021 through the use of biosimilars
  • Opportunities to Repurpose Medicines in the NHS in England - report by NICE, NIHR, DHSC and MHRA with recommendations for repurposing opportunities, and how these have been or will be implemented

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from BEIS; the Department for International Trade; the Department of Health and Social Care; the Government Legal Department; the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency; the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control; the Office for Life Sciences and The Scottish Government.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from representatives from the NHS, executive agencies including clinical staff, CCGs, medicine optimisation committees, regulators, local authorities, the life sciences sector, pharmaceutical companies, the independent and third sectors, patient groups, law firms, consultancies, and others affected by the issues discussed as well as academics and think tanks, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

Shortly after every Westminster Health Forum seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates