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Quintiles survey finds pharma still stuck on short-termism

By Natalie Morrison , 05-Jun-2012

Creation of long-term biopharma relationships is hindered by continued pursuit of short-term gains, according to Quintiles’ New Health Report.

The study – which quizzed biopharmaceutical executives, managed care executives, physicians and patients living with chronic disease about the changes in clinical programmes and healthcare – reports that more than three quarters of execs felt outcomes data should be a bigger focus.

But with a lack of investor support ranking high amongst the reasons for the remaining trend towards short-term gains – such as re-formulation of off patent drugs – at 71 per cent big thinking may be tricky.

A further 48 per cent of execs cited today’s weak financial market as a hurdle when trying to plan long-term.

“As biopharma adapts to the changing influence of other stakeholders, and reacts to pressure to more clearly demonstrate the value of its products, the industry finds itself torn between establishing long-term relationships at the expense of short-term gains,” the analysts wrote.

A solution

To solve the issue the survey, led by Richard Day Research, suggests better communication and understanding between the silos – physicians, payers, patients and policy makers – is crucial.

It even pertains to the idea of a change in the way the clinical research system works if a stronger working relationship between stakeholders is established.

“From which therapies are brought to market to the manner in which clinical research is conducted, this influence presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the biopharmaceutical industry to involve these stakeholders throughout the entire development process,” the report says.

However, the team say the research industry still has a long way to go in aligning stakeholders’ interests.

“With physicians demanding further evidence of a new product’s effectiveness, patients demanding more assurance regarding a drug’s safety, payers demanding demonstrable proof of a therapy’s value, and policy-makers demanding confirmation of a product’s real-world risk and benefit profile in large populations, understanding what information to communicate to each group is a significant challenge for drug developers,” the report says.

One thing Quintiles lists as a strategy for combining views is the need for a wake-up call about the patient’s growing power as a stakeholder.

“Patients can influence which treatments are developed for which conditions, by speaking up loudly enough for themselves, and which ones are discontinued because of, say, too many adverse effects,” the authors wrote.

“By the same token, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and doctors will increasingly need to realize the decision-making power of patients, and take the time to understand patient needs, demonstrate the value of new treatments to them and involve patients in the healthcare conversation. Patients are willing to do more, but need to be trusted and enabled to do so.”

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