Patient Centricity Has Arrived. Bigger Question: Where Is It Headed?


Patients have always been on pharma’s radar, though it has historically been as a target of marketing (the most obvious being Direct to Consumer (DTC) advertising).  But now under the banner of Patient Centricity, pharma companies large and small are making adjustments across their medical and commercial operations to ensure a focus on patients.

Make no mistake, Patient Centricity has arrived.

You need to look no further than last year when Sanofi appointed a Chief Patient Officer to its C-level executive ranks; or Takeda realigned its business more closely with patient needs.

As regulators and payers push for better health outcomes, pharma understands its business model must generate better results, both clinically and economically. To that end, pharma is focusing on becoming more patient-oriented across all aspects of its operations so that at the end of the day it is providing products and services that improve health.

A commercial affairs leader with a Top 10 pharma company said it best in a new patient support study from Best Practices Benchmarking and Consulting, LLC: “Patient Centricity will allow patients and the company to benefit.  A simple example being aiding patients to better understand their condition and the importance of adherence to their treatment will deliver value to the patient by helping them reach their health goal and in turn will deliver value to company through sales.”

The study, Patient Support Excellence: Structure, Activities and Resource Levels to Ensure Patient-Centric Products and Services, helps pharma leaders across functional areas better understand the industry’s shift to a patient-focused approach and  how it can positively impact patient outcomes and commercial results.

The most obvious foray in patient centricity seems to be patient financial assistance programs, a tool that 71% of companies claim is a highly effective activity to use in working with patients.

This ringing endorsement is the result of these programs providing more than just financial help for patients. In the 20+ years Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) have been around, they have evolved into programs that also provide patients with non-financial assistance such as educational materials and other support services designed to improve adherence.

Unfortunately, this was the only one of 17 activities studied that a majority of participants evaluate as highly effective at this time.

The issue is how does the pharma industry get to the next level of not only focusing on patent centricity, but making real strides in including patients in their own care? The answer might be found in companies focusing heavily on adherence in the near future.

With its many benefits for patients, payers and industry, adherence could be considered the poster child for Patient Centricity.  Here’s why:

The number of programs and activities linked to Patient Centricity will increase as pharma continues to embrace ways to bring pharma and patients closer. Those of us at Best Practices will be paying close attention to where Patient Centricity journey takes the pharma industry and how it will impact its medical and commercial operations.

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