The OECD just published its report on “Pharmaceutical Innovation and Access to Medicine”.
On the positive aspect it once again highlights the tremendous advances medicines have made to life expectancy and quality of life for many patients across the world. On the not so positive aspect it highlights significant ongoing challenges such as pricing, affordability, R&D costs and non adherence (see also Brown and Russel, 2011) to name but a few.
Where the report potentially misses the mark is in the lack of consumer focused opportunity that could drive cost effective innovation. There is growing evidence that patient engagement in the development of medicines drives R&D efficiencies and delivers medicines that patients are more likely to value and as a result adhere to (Levitan et al, 2017). Patient preference, patient relevant endpoints and outcomes must be reflected in pricing and market access decisions so that prices are more likely to reflect value. This will lead to the prescription of medicines that are more likely to be readily adopted, adhered to and deliver value to all stakeholders, not least the patient. The patient need is the red thread that connects drug developer, regulator, payer, healthcare professional across the value chain. It can be of little surprise to anyone looking in from outside that costs and prices will continue to remain high if that patient need is not properly understood and addressed across the whole value chain.