September 8, 2021

Patients are People First

Physician with hand on patients shoulder

How do you translate patient-centered ambition into reality? #dothingsdifferently 

The answer is, listen to your patients, how you do that can be the tricky bit. 

For a long time (I’ve been in the pharma industry for 20+ years) I’ve heard of the desire or intent to be more patient centred. When I first started in the industry it was one of the first things that captivated me about our work, yes we were a profit making entity, but we were in a position to help people and bring drugs to market that could change the trajectory of people’s lives. 

Fast forward 20 years and I find myself alongside the pharma industry still asking the question “how we bring people (because remember patients are people first) into the centre of pharma planning.” 

Over the last 5 years there has been a proliferation of activity around the clinical trial space around ensuring that trials are representative and that people can interact and be involved in them more easily. Fantastic progress is being made on all aspects of this patient engagement around making clinical trial paperwork easier to understand, creating material that actually makes sense to folk and using platforms to attract people to clinical trials. 

Furthermore, the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning in clinical R&D has allowed vast quantities of data to be mined, interpreted and insights derived that have shortened the analysis process hopefully leading to faster access to drugs for many. 

But what I have not seen is the ability of the more commercial arms of pharma business being able to embrace patient centred thinking in the same wholehearted way. Now there some regulatory reasons for this specifically direct to consumer marketing restrictions in all but the US and NZ markets as well as adverse event reporting. When I think about these two reasons, are these good enough for us not to be thinking more broadly and creatively to consider how we could do things differently. 

Covid has completely transformed our worlds not just our everyday lives but also the way we interact with our healthcare. Conventional routes to information and support have broken down an increasingly people turn to the internet and peer support groups on message boards and forums to find community and information. How are you as a marketing or patient engagement team supporting your patient communities post covid? 

A great example of content being produced has been by Novartis last year with their campaign on  TikTok to broaden the conversation on Sickle Cell disease – #DoU  

In order to put a campaign like this together Novartis have deeply understood and worked with people suffering from Sickle Cell disease. They have taken the time to understand that the people have whole worlds outside their condition, they want community and support, but they also want to live their lives and not be defined by their condition. It’s such a great example of bringing people together around a shared conversation to enhance the wellbeing and care of people affected by Sickle Cell. 

If you don’t take the time to deeply understand the people who’s lives are affected by the conditions you provide drugs for you won’t create material that helps them on that journey. So how to ensure their voice is captured? 

Sounds like a scary space for pharma to be walking into!! It doesn’t have to be we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how this could be done differently and we’ve spent thousands of hours dedicated to the problem.  

Want to explore the art of the possible and put patients at the centre of your brand and content planning? If you have all this covered and are creating impactful person-centred content that you know your patients love then fantastic we’d love to hear how you are doing that, if not, click the button below to book a call and explore our solution.