Pharma’s Patient Package:

How the Patient Centricity is Changing the Industry

How the Patient Centricity is Changing the Pharmaceutical Industry


Over the past few years, drug makers have partnered with patients to deliver better drugs, gain more feedback, and provide more information about their products. This renewed focus on patient abilities and outcomes is part of the transition to patient-centric healthcare. Changes from this transition have revolutionized the industry and created a positive culture for the industry and patients to thrive together.

The most notable changes have come from this new business model, which continues to seek success for both the patient and the industry:

Early Development

Centering care on patient needs and abilities must start at the beginning of treatment development. Pharmaceutical R&D teams have worked since the passage of the Orphan Drug Act, nearly three decades ago, to do just this by increasing the amount of niche drugs on the market. Now in 2017, the rare disease market has become one of the most sought-after in the global pharmaceutical industry.

Engaging rare disease patients presents an opportunity for individualized medicine and provides small businesses a way to break into the industry without contributing to the flooded common medicine markets. This also provides treatment development and research for niche diseases which has been underfunded in the past.

Once this treatment is developed, however, patients are heavily involved in early testing. Rachel Couchenour, with Mateon Therapeutics, explains that Mateon connects with patients via social media to provide information about clinical trials, “Engaging patients and caregivers is important to us because not only do we need their feedback, but it allows us to connect with the community and hopefully will help drive clinical trial enrollment.”

From feedback to clinical testing and treatment development, early patient involvement has helped the pharmaceutical industry incorporate different needs and connect with patient communities.

Patient Review

Engaging patients has moved beyond clinical testing and survey feedback. Now, companies are able to directly reach and connect with patient populations via online social channels. Social media has proven to be a powerful asset in bridging the gap between the industry and patient needs.

Social media outreach has also helped companies gain nearly immediate feedback on their products. Online receptions may help forecast a treatment’s success on the market and provides a platform for patients to voice their approvals or concerns. Many companies are embracing this change, and helping transparency further the success of patient-centered business models.

Likewise, making patient priorities a focal point of treatment has helped many companies develop adequate therapies. When discussing patient relations with WAVE Life Science Vice President of Patient Advocacy, Wendy Erler, she explained that preconceptions about patient priorities may hinder treatment development or impede on the industry’s ability to support patient success.

The focus on patient abilities and desired treatment qualities indicates that communication channels between the industry and the patient are open and the industry is taking advantage of this connection. Making better products and delivering a better outcome for the patient as well as the company has become vital to the industry’s success.

Forecasting Success

Keeping the patient at the center of the business model means keeping the patient’s desired outcome in mind from the start. Over the past few years, patient-centric healthcare has renewed the focus on early forecasting, and how this can greatly increase the success of a drug both in the market and in treatment.

Executives have started to take notice. Orexigen CEO, Michael Narachi, explains that helping patients relies on getting the right drug to the right patient. When patient outcomes are at the center of drug development, launch, and commercialization, empowering the patient to find the right drug and explore treatment options increases the chance of successful treatments and successful products.

Patient-centered business models are becoming more popular in the pharmaceutical industry. Like healthcare, many drug makers have begun the move to performance based payments. Lowering the cost of treatment and engaging in profits based on treatment success shows the pharmaceutical industry as willing and wanting to change its standard practices for the benefit of patients.

The Big Picture

Patient-centered healthcare has changed the pharmaceutical industry. Executives, advocates, and patients are joining together to make better products, provide more information, and increase treatment access. Patients are benefitting from these changes and the pharmaceutical industry is seeing more positive relations as a result.

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