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Early Engagement with Companies

In addition to delivering industry training events around the assessment process, the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) provides the opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to meet with SMC staff, prior to submission for a newly licensed medicine, in specific circumstances.

The main purpose of these Early Engagement meetings is to support pharmaceutical companies in understanding SMC processes in order that they may determine the nature and focus of a submission and to help NHS Scotland by reducing the number of non-submissions to SMC. Pharmaceutical companies may then be able to produce a high quality submission for review by SMC.

As we are unable to facilitate meetings for all potential submissions, early engagement meetings with an individual pharmaceutical company will take place only in specific circumstances, as detailed below. 

Early engagement meetings will be considered where either:

  • Intelligence suggests a submission may not be forthcoming and where there is exceptionally high patient need, for example a medicine used for a condition where no other treatment is available.


  • A company has had limited previous experience of engagement with SMC, and/or aspects of the submission suggest there would be mutual benefit from a meeting, to discuss concerns or issues relating to SMC process or policy at an early stage.

Some examples of medicines that may be discussed include those in the Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS), the EMA Adaptive Pathways Pilot and Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP).These criteria are not exhaustive and we will retain the flexibility to hold a meeting when it is considered this would be mutually beneficial to both the company and SMC. Meetings will be focused on a single submission.

Where a pharmaceutical company has a query on submission requirements that is not clearly addressed in the guidance documents on the website, the SMC Secretariat should be contacted by email for advice on how to proceed.

The Early Engagement Process is supported by the ABPI. Catriona McMahon, lead pharmaceutical industry representative on SMC, has agreed to be involved in early communication to help to manage requests for meetings. Catriona can be contacted directly at

To request an Early Engagement meeting please complete and submit an Early Engagement Information Request Form and return to

The completed form should contain enough information to enable us to determine whether the submission meets the above criteria.

We aim to respond within 15 working days to requests for meetings and will endeavour to arrange a meeting as soon as convenient for both parties. The meetings will take place in Delta House, Glasgow on a mutually agreeable date and time and scheduled to last 1 hour. Attendance may be in person or via teleconference.

All queries relating to Early Engagement should be made by contacting