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Medicines Optimisation SBRI

The Small Business Research Initiative is a structured pre-commercial procurement process aimed at driving innovation

Project Description

Medicines are the most common medical intervention within the Health and Social Care Service (HSC) and expenditure on medicines accounts for £540million (12%) of all annual health-care spending in NI. In primary care alone over 37 million prescription items were dispensed in 2012 at a cost of over £400 million. Trends show that the volume and costs of prescribed medicines is increasing at around 5% each year. At the same time there is evidence that between a half and a third of medicines prescribed for long term conditions are not taken as recommended (known as non-adherence). Non-adherence represents a health loss for the individual and an economic loss for society.

The NI Dept. of Health (DoH) in partnership with Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), working with Dept. of the Economy and InvestNI, has therefore launched a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Competition to stimulate the development of innovative technology solutions to optimise patient health and social care outcomes through improved medicines adherence. Projects will be selected on their potential to optimise patient outcomes through improvements in the safe and effective use of prescribed medicines and concomitant reduction in medicines waste.

The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is a structured “pre-commercial procurement” process hosted by Innovate UK and is aimed at driving innovation through the procurement of R&D. It provides innovative solutions to Public Sector challenges and business opportunities to technology-based businesses. By using SBRI the public sector is able to access ideas and technologies that they would not reach through normal channels.

Project Status

At March 2015:

The SBRI Competition was formally launched on 3 March 2014 with a submission return date of 14 May 2014. 32 applications for Phase 1 funding were received by the closing date, from which six applications were shortlisted to receive Phase 1 Contracts. The issue of budget cuts across all Government Departments, delayed the awarding of the Phase 1 contracts, until it was confirmed in Autumn 2014 that budget would be available to support the project. Phase 1 contracts issued in late 2014 and Phase 1 proper commenced in January 2015.

By end of March 2015, we were half way through Phase 1 and generally projects are progressing in line with expectation. In-depth reviews will be held with each contractor during May 2015 to review progress and anticipated Phase 1 project outcomes. SIB is also providing some support to DoH (previously DHSSPS) in the development of Phase 2 competition documents.

SIB Involvement

SIB is providing project management support to DoH in the form of a Project Manager and Project Co-ordinator during the competition initiation and Phase 1 Contracts. Some support is also being provided in relation to the development of Phase 2 documents.