This is the first of a series of posts planned over the next few weeks. At the end of April, I finally attended my first in-person industry meeting in two years. I had the honor of presenting at the DTC National meeting during the Multicultural Health track, held in Boston. The next week I went to Philly to attend the Patients as Partners meeting. At each meeting almost every speaker, including me, opened with being grateful for being in person, seeing a live audience.
The message thread through both meetings was the incredible evolution that is finally taking place in the life sciences industry. What I had been sensing in my gut was proven to be true – the life sciences industry – provoked by COVID and the death of George Floyd – is finally embracing:
- what it will take to improve how it engages with patients/people,
- that it is willing to do the work it takes to ensure that clinical trials are diverse,
- technology will help propel the industry on, at least, these fronts
I am part of ongoing efforts to address these issues with the Digital Medicine Society (DiME), the Drug Information Association (DIA) and Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). All of this activity is due to the momentum in the industry. All of these efforts are supported by people, like me, who have been pushing the industry for, at least, the last 15 years.
While it is great to report on these activities in real-time as I did via Twitter (@InspiredHealth_) these last 2 weeks, these efforts still require a bit of reflection and deeper reporting. Hey, the movement on these issues deserves attention to be paid to keep the momentum going, to reinforce and recognize those who have mostly volunteered to take on these efforts. Now, as companies are finally investing money, the people who made these efforts continue to develop deserve recognition beyond a Tweet.
The first bit of recognition goes to the speakers and attendees of the Multicultural Health track at the DTC National meeting. As we moved through the day there were two themes – we all talked about the value of diversity in both the commercial and clinical trials spaces, and we all understood and utilized the value of community. The room was filled with all of us who “drink the Kool-Aid” on these issues. The challenge is to get out beyond those of us who already believe. Many of us are working together to build a coalition of organizations that represent diverse populations. We will help pharma get over the hurdle of accessing the very populations they need to reach to ensure clinical trials are diverse. Pharma knows it has to build sustained relationships to build trust and earn the right to ask people to participate in clinical trials – but how does this get done. We will help get that done. As this coalition is more formalized, in the next few weeks, watch this space for details.
This theme continued at the Patients As Partners meeting in Philadelphia, April 28, 29, 2022. I am hopeful that industry is finally doing the work to be patient-centered – or as one speaker put it – patient inclusivity.
Just my thoughts,