The emerging patient engagement imperative

The pharmaceutical industry has over successive decades delivered stellar performances in the delivery of medicines that have made tremendous improvements to patient well being. Innovative medicines have contributed to increased life expectancy and the industry has been a significant contributor to income generation, tax contribution and employment across the globe. The challenge companies are/will face is the sustainability of current operating models in the face of evolving healthcare ecosystems, pricing pressures on medicines, R&D costs and technology enablement. With the arrival of consumer centric disruptors in healthcare (Google, Apple, Amazon etc), increasing consumer expectation and the opportunity to deliver better consumer value, the successful pharmaceutical companies of tomorrow will need to ensure that they increasingly partner with patients so that the science they deliver becomes more relevant and meaningful for these consumers. We need to deliver outcomes and experiences that they want, not necessarily what we want them to want. Fundamentally, this requires the patient voice to be systematically incorporated into the end to end life cycle of the medicine from research across development and into the real world.

Interestingly traditional stakeholders are spearheading this transformative change. In June 2018 the FDA announced their draft guideline on Patient-Focused Drug Development: Collecting Comprehensive and Representative Input and made a press statement which leave little doubt of the inevitability of the consumer impact in the development and approval of medicines:

“[…] we must continue to reflect on how we can make the science of drug development and review more modern and more patient-centered, so that approved products impact the metrics that real-world patients and families value most. This requires ongoing engagement with the patient community.” 

The FDA clearly expect patient experience to be incorporated in the research and development of medicines with real world consumer relevance. Is Industry ready to do this? Where will this patient input come from and where does the company expertise exist to partner with patients to generate it?

This is significant change for a heavily regulated Industry that is by its very nature conservative and slow to change. MediPaCe’s Guy Yeoman and Mitchell Silva will soon be launching a handbook that discusses the importance of patient engagement and explains how an operating framework can be applied to ensure the patient voice is heard and applied in an appropriate, sustainable and transparent manner.

Watch this space or get in touch with us if you want to learn more.

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