Patient centricity remains one of the main topics of discussion during events that bring together experts in the industry, with attendees at this year’s CPhI Worldwide hearing Piramal’s CCO announce that he was appointed the newly-established title of ‘Chief Patient Centricity Officer’.
In his keynote interview during the Financial Times Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Conference that took place in London last week, Lutz Bonacker, CSL Behring’s SVP and GM for Europe, stated that “neither I nor any of my 25,000 colleagues have the world ‘patient’ in their job title, because this should be everybody’s job.”
Outsourcing-Pharma spoke with Lutz Bonacker after his keynote interview, to find out more about CSL Behring’s strategy on integrating the patient’s voice into its R&D operations.
“Patient focus is really important and we try to embed it into everything we do, which essentially means that it is part of everyone’s job description,” Bonacker said.
He added that this mindset is crucial “especially on research regarding rare and chronic diseases, where the patient’s journey through life is accompanied by their disease, and we have to understand the whole journey, not just ‘helicopter’ in and out at the different stages.”
According to Bonacker, patients’ access to information through the internet should be seen as an ‘empowerment component’ and an ‘opportunity’ for the industry to establish a closer communication with patients, since “the success of each pharmaceutical company really depends on how much help and benefit is provided to the patients.”
Bonacker stated that in addition to the ‘input’ that the companies have from doctors and payers, “we now get to have more opportunities for input from the users.”
“Patients are the true experts at what can help them, so by listening to them we try to relate and understand where there are unmet needs,” he continued and explained that the company invites patients to its facilities to discuss their experience.
Specifically, in clinical trials, patients’ feedback is utilized to shape or reexamine the protocols and endpoints, Bonacker said.
When asked about the potential risks regarding the reliability of the patients’ feedback, he replied, “We all know how difficult and expensive drug development is, so any additional piece of information that we can utilize is valuable.”
Bonacker also noted that involving patients and their direct feedback in the R&D processes is easier in the US compared to the European Union, due to the regulatory framework regarding data protection.