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Working with the BMS-Pfizer Alliance

How we work

The BMS-Pfizer Alliance has experience of working collaboratively with the NHS, healthcare organisations and patient associations in order to raise awareness and improve the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing management of conditions such as atrial fibrillation (AF) and venous thromboembolism (VTE). 

All of our collaborative work puts patient care at its centre and seeks to improve anticoagulation rates for the benefit of patients, their families and carers. We are therefore keen to work collaboratively on projects that support the sharing of best practice, deliver innovative ways of working, and help the NHS to adhere to relevant NICE guidance. To ensure that the activities and projects which we undertake are delivered to the highest standard, we follow the Department of Health’s best practice guidance and adhere to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Code of Practice.

Case studies

The following case studies outline the type of work that the BMS-Pfizer Alliance has been involved with to date.

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  • AF180 Degrees Campaign

    The AF180 Degrees Campaign (AF180o) Campaign has been initiated and funded by an Alliance between Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Pfizer Ltd (the BMS-Pfizer Alliance), working in collaboration with the AF Association, AntiCoagulation Europe, and the Arrhythmia Alliance. A Steering Committee of expert healthcare professionals have been involved in its development. As part of the funding for the campaign, the BMS-Pfizer Alliance has paid participants for their time and expenses related to the campaign.

    The campaign aims to support change in order to prevent atrial fibrillation-related (AF) strokes, in line with NICE Clinical Guideline 180. It is aimed at people with an interest in the prevention of AF-related stroke, including patients.

    More information on the campaign can be seen by visiting its website here.

  • Implementing best practice in the management and prevention of AF-related stroke in the West Midlands

    In July 2014, the BMS-Pfizer Alliance organised and funded a panel-led round table meeting in the West Midlands, which was endorsed by the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network. The meeting was chaired by the Rt Hon. Lord Hunt of Kings Heath OBE, the Labour Opposition Spokesperson for Health and the former Chairman of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. The meeting brought together people from across the local health economy including healthcare professionals, policy makers, public health representatives and patient group representatives.

    The delegates in attendance examined the challenges to improving care for patients with AF who are at risk of stroke in the West Midlands. The aim of the panel-led round-table meeting was to contribute towards developing solutions to the challenges faced locally in adopting best practice in the prevention of AF-related stroke. During the meeting, participants identified a number of challenges as well as some opportunities for future improvements in the prevention of AF-related stroke in the West Midlands around four central themes: 

    • Implementation of NICE clinical guideline 180 (CG180)
    • Local responsibility for AF-related stroke prevention 
    • Improving diagnosis rates of AF 
    • Education of healthcare professionals and patients to improve their understanding of stroke prevention in AF 

    After the meeting, interested parties then agreed to lead on the local implementation of these targets. To ensure continued progress, in September 2016, the BMS-Pfizer Alliance initiated, organised and funded a follow-up panel-led round-table meeting, which was supported by the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network. The meeting provided an opportunity for policy makers, healthcare professionals in both primary and secondary care, and public health and patient group representatives to examine what more could be done to ensure the implementation of best practice in the management of AF-related stroke prevention across Birmingham and the West Midlands. 

    Participants of the meeting agreed the following target for the West Midlands:

    By September 2018, 85 per cent of patients with AF at risk of stroke in the West Midlands would be initiated onto appropriate anticoagulation for stroke prevention. 

    A clear plan for achieving this target was established, and attendees agreed that the following recommendations would need to be implemented: 

    • Incentivisation: Introduce incentives to encourage improvement in the management of AF-related stroke prevention 
    • Education and Support: Provide education and support to improve understanding of AF-related stroke prevention and the management of anticoagulation

    Interested parties locally then agreed to lead on the implementation of these targets.

  • Grasp the Initiative: Action Plan report

    In 2014, the BMS-Pfizer Alliance worked with the AF Association in the production of a report entitled Grasp the Initiative: Action Plan. This report was initiated by the AF Association and the BMS-Pfizer Alliance, and funded by the BMS-Pfizer Alliance. As part of this funding, the AF Association was provided financial and inkind support by the BMS-Pfizer Alliance for its role in the development and publication of this report. The content was approved by the AF Association Medical Advisory Committee and reviewed by the BMS-Pfizer Alliance to ensure compliance with the ABPI Code of Practice.

    Following an earlier report which was published by the BMS-Pfizer Alliance and the AF Association in 2012, entitled Grasp the Initiative and aimed to support healthcare audiences to learn more about the aims and potential of the GRASP-AF clinical audit tool, this subsequent action plan aimed to:

    • Provide a concise overview of the current as well as historical practice in using anticoagulants in the prevention of AF-related stroke in England; 
    • Highlight some of our shared concerns; 
    • Develop an additional set of recommendations to those presented in the 2012 Grasp the Initiative report to guide primary care professionals on how to use the GRASP-AF tool to the best of its potential. 

    The GRASP-AF audit tool was developed independently shortly after the publication of the NICE guidance on the management of AF in 2006. The tool was designed to help GPs audit their management of stroke risk in AF, and also to help identify patients who had presented to their GP, but had not yet been recorded as having AF. By 2014, the number of GP practices using the GRASP-AF toolkit had reached over 2,600.

    Using data from GRASP-AF provided by NHS Improving Quality, the BMS-Pfizer Alliance and the AF Association undertook a comprehensive analysis of the way anticoagulation was being managed across the country. Using these data, we developed a number of recommendations to support healthcare professionals and commissioners to improve outcomes for their patients at risk of AF-related stroke.

    In July 2015, the National Institute of Care and Excellence (NICE) published a quality standard on atrial fibrillation and listed the report as one of four key policy documents, along with publications from the Department of Health, the National Institute of Cardiovascular Outcomes Research, and the European Heart Rhythm Association, which was used to inform the development of the quality standard.

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June 2017