Pharmaceutical companies are beginning to appreciate that involving patients in the drug development life cycle could save them millions of pounds. But are companies being brave enough when it comes to ‘patient centricity’?
More than three decades ago, patients with HIV and AIDS in the United States started to push pharmaceutical companies for treatments by getting informed and lobbying for more research. It proved a powerful driver for better drugs, better access, and better understanding of what the disease was.
But that level of patient power, on the whole, has not been replicated on the same scale in other diseases — at least not at the drug design and development stages. Any patient lobbying or involvement has tended to be in the post-marketing phase, or patient engagement has been stuck in pilot projects because companies were unsure of the value.
In other industries, it would seem odd not to get input from the end user of a product throughout the development stages. But it seems that pharmaceutical companies — some would say belatedly — are now waking up to the idea that getting meaningful patient input throughout the drug development life cycle could potentially save them a lot of money.