• Steve Oldfield given one of the top jobs at the Department of Health
  • Key part of the new role will be to negotiate regulation of drugs price with the pharmaceutical industry
  • Mr Oldfied has held senior posts at Sanofi and Teva

The Department of Health has appointed a new chief commercial officer who will lead the renegotiation of pharmaceutical pricing regulation scheme.

Steve Oldfield, who has held senior positions with pharmaceutical companies such as Sanofi and Teva, will take up the newly created position in October.

He has more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry, a DH statement said.

Mr Oldfield will report to Chris Wormald, the DH’s permanent secretary, and liaise with the Cabinet Office and the Treasury.

His initial focus will be creating and developing a strategy that will “underpin upcoming negotiations with a variety of commercial suppliers, including key engagements with the pharmaceutical industry”, the statement said.

The strategy will have significance for the negotiations with pharmaceutical companies over the PPRS, the DH said.

The PPRS is a voluntary agreement between the DH and the industry to control the prices of branded drugs sold to the NHS.

The government spends £8bn a year through the scheme, which has more than 125 companies signed.

It is renewed every five years with the next renewal scheduled for 2019.

Mr Oldfield is currently chief operating officer for PGT, a consumer health joint venture between Procter & Gamble and Teva, and has previously been the UK managing director of Sanofi and Teva.

He has sat on the board of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and co-chaired committees looking at the introduction and adoption of new medicines.

Mr Oldfield said: “Demands on the health system have never been greater, and I hope to be able to bring my previous commercial experience to bear on the activities of the department.”

Mr Wormald said: “We face a number of commercial challenges across the health family, not least putting place the next generation of the medicines pricing scheme – but we see huge opportunities for better delivery for patients and better value for money for taxpayers from improved commercial skills and experience.”

The job was advertised in November 2016 and offered a £220,000 salary with a performance related bonus – making it one of the highest paid jobs in the DH.

Earlier this summer the DH appointed Melinda Johnson as its commercial director. Her role is below Mr Oldfield’s in the department hierarchy.