In a time when the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases boosts the sales of self-administration devices and patient centricity has become one of the main topics of discussion across the various sectors of the industry, in-PharmaTechnologist spoke with Mike Schaefers, VP and GM for global pharma at West Pharmaceutical Services, about how the company is trying to answer current market needs.
“The challenge in the manufacture of self-administration devices comes as every patient is different, and every treatment, every new therapy that comes to market is different, and requires different administration,” Schaefers told us.
According to the executive, drug delivery methods are increasingly tailored around patients’ needs, and “[the] voice of the customer is now more than ever integrated in the development and optimization” of the devices.
Schaefers brought up the example of diabetes medication, which “half of the patients do not take, because they find it disturbing and painful. The current trend in the industry is ease of use and convenience,” he noted, adding that insurance companies also encourage this trend, by ‘demanding performance’.
Digitally-enabled devices ‘still in infancy’
Especially regarding diabetes, the company also looks to follow the ongoing industry trend that encourages developers to integrate digital technology to optimize dosage and biomarkers’ monitoring and, ultimately, disease management.
“Our devices offer opportunities to connect devices with smartphones, and we also develop applications that support this connection,” Schaefers noted.
However, the executive expressed the opinion that digitalization of care, in general, is ‘in its infancy’.
“I think we are still looking at solutions for all patients, even elderly patients who might not be so comfortable with digital technology. It is definitely a trend going forward, but it will take some time,” he said.