Welcome to ‘Generation R’ for the next decade of patient engagement

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Relationship recrudescence; inertia, cynicism and complacency must not prevail, says Nexgen Healthcare Communications’ Emma Sutcliffe

“Are patients too close to industry?” was a comment at a recent meeting that had me reaching in fury for my ‘interactive keypad’ in response. This recrudescent pantomime- casting of pharma-as-villain was disappointing. However, it was not surprising, as there is still reluctance to invest comprehensively in patient engagement programmes that fully engage patients from the R&D get-go, which leads to such inevitable archetyping.

You would be forgiven for thinking that given the plethora of reports, events and multi-stakeholder organisations publishing guidelines that ‘good patient relationship practices’ are routine and that the cynicism shrouding industry-patient partnerships is the ‘ghost of Christmas past’. Indeed, it would be reasonable to assume that the relationship between most pharma and patient organisations is now a great one; underpinned by trust, measured by collaboration, linked with a common language. However, inertia to turn relationship ambition into practice still prevails in many companies that can frustrate and undermine the success of longer-term partnerships. Scratch away at the superficial claim ‘we put patients at the heart of all that we do’ and what does that mean, every day, in every pharma company away from the glare of the conference spotlights?


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