Navigating the patient maze – pharma’s evolving challenge

Pharma companies are embracing patient centricity in drug development more than ever before. Over the last decade, leaders in the industry have championed patient engagement, putting it at the heart of commercial strategies. It’s a hard task to get right though, as ICON’s Chris O’Toole explains, but the rewards can be huge on both sides.

“I don’t want to be called a patient, and I’m not on a journey.”

That phrase sums up the challenges that pharma companies can sometimes face when trying to bring people wrestling with illness – with all their individual characteristics and foibles – into the conversation about the clinical development of new medicines.

It’s a challenge Chris O’Toole has run into many times in his role as vice president of commercial solutions at ICON plc, but one that he thinks the industry is getting better at handling as it strives towards becoming more patient centric.

“Many of the decisions pharma companies would have taken in the past were not wholly based on what the patient thought or wanted but were driven to get past a regulatory endpoint ” he says, although now most have realised that you can get progress faster by treating patients as individuals and asking the right questions.

• Read the full article in pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive digital magazine