NHS Commercial Framework for Medicines

Closed 10 Jan 2020

Opened 1 Nov 2019


NHS England has a significant role to play in supporting patient access to clinically and cost-effective medicines by offering enhanced commercial arrangements where appropriate and practical.

The 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing and Access committed NHS England to publishing a commercial framework, setting out more operational detail on the commercial arrangements with industry.

The Commercial Framework:

  • outlines the purpose and principles on which NHS commercial medicines activity will be based.
  •  defines the roles and responsibilities of those involved in commercial medicines activity and detailing how pharmaceutical companies can engage with the NHS.
  • clarifies the routes to routine commissioning in the NHS, and where commercial activity can occur in those routes.
  • outlines commercial flexibilities, and circumstances where they could be considered.

This draft framework was developed by NHS England with the help and input of partners including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the Department of Health and Social Care and the Office for Life Sciences. It sets out our existing arrangements and provides further operational detail to complement the Voluntary Scheme.

Formal engagement on the draft commercial framework has now closed (10 January 2020). Comments submitted during the engagement will inform the final version of the framework, which will be released in due course.

Due to the redeployment of staff to support COVID-19, publication of the final commercial framework has been delayed; however, this remains a priority for NHS England and will publish as soon as possible.



  • All interested stakeholders


  • Commissioning