Commercial Medicines Unit (CMU)

The CMU is part of the Medicine, Pharmacy and Industry Group of DHSC which looks at supply and procurement in hospitals.

The CMU team work in partnership with the people who buy pharmaceuticals for hospitals across the NHS in England.

In particular, it works with NHS pharmacists and suppliers to gather and analyse the money spent on secondary care (hospital) medicines. CMU works on behalf of both the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS.

The people working at the CMU have specialist market knowledge to help hospitals in managing the contracting process for medicines in England and to provide support for projects on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care.

Support is available for procurement in the following areas:

  • homecare medicines
  • branded medicines
  • generic medicines
  • dose banding
  • blood products
  • medical gases
  • nutrition / enteral products
  • childhood and other vaccines (UK wide)
  • pharmaceutical countermeasures
  • delivery of procurement savings
  • securing the benefits of the transition from branded to off patent medicines
  • information and analysis of expenditure

The Pharmacy Catalogue provides links to an online catalogue of pharmaceutical products.

The Business Continuity Questionnaire provides a direct link to a questionnaire to be filled in by CMU registered pharmaceutical suppliers regarding their business continuity plans.

eDIS allows people attending meetings on decisions about pharmaceutical contracts to disclose any interests which could be viewed as affecting that persons impartiality in the meeting decision.

Pharmex holds data on 13 million line order entries for over 10,000 products.

CMU request for stockholding is a tool used by pharmaceutical suppliers to upload data on their stock levels which is then used to supply accurate volumes to suppliers for tendering.

Bravo is used by pharmaceutical buyers and suppliers and the CMU to manage tendering activity and contract negotiations.

Sid4health is a registration tool used by pharmaceutical suppliers and was replaced by Sid4Gov supplier registration portal on 30 April 2013.

The department published the Towards a Vision for the Future report providing information on the supply of hospital prescribed medicines direct to patients in their own homes.

Guidance on compliance aids provides a useful FAQ on the use of compliance aids /monitored dosage systems.

The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances is responsible for advising on the prescribing of food and toiletries.


Published 4 March 2011