A well-known Vice President at a Top 10 Pharma company recently spoke to me over the phone. See if you agree?
A well-known Vice President at a Top 10 Pharma company recently spoke to me over the phone.
See if you agree?
"Ged, patients think they have gained the upper hand in knowledge about medicine. They come to the doctors with more informed choices about drugs, dosage etc. But this doesn't mean s**t because look at our adherence rates, they are just as low as ever. So what I question is: what are they being told at home, on the web or by their friends?"
"Do they think that just because they have found out a bit more information that this 'education' can somehow mysteriously cure them, rather than taking their medication properly?!! It's madness, we as an industry need to make sure clear, transparent information is there. Moreover we need to re-engage with the physician; let's put the social media stuff to one side. The physician is the most important person in this whole equation. We need to make sure our communication is clear to the physician and they relay to the patient in a clear way. You would be amazed how this is much easier said than done."
I would love to admit that I prized such a response out of him a la David Frost but I think I caught him at a time when pharma are struggling to manage with the streams of information running in and out of the patients' mind.
With such freedom of information about medication, side effects, past patients stories, efficacy opinions and so on about drugs, what impact is any pharma company's information having on pharma's continuing struggle to boost adherence?
Certainly in this VPs case he wants to address the main channel that is Physicians or other major HCPs. With the shift towards chronic diseases this may not be a bad idea.
But what do we do as an industry to address the patients' needs?
- Do we focus on getting back to the physician?
- Do we focus on a multi-disciplinary strategy?
- Do we offer support to the patient at ground-level?
- Or all three?
- Or, none at all?
It's a debate that a humble blogger such as myself, nor one of the leading executives in US pharma know the idea to yet.
I think it's time we as an industry sat down and decided how to tackle this issue before we lose the patient altogether.
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