Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Patients' Views Matter: Can Pharma Be There for Them When Needed vs Whenever? 

Patients' Views Matter: Can Pharma Be There for Them When Needed vs Whenever?  | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

If the statement “Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that can be measured matters” is true, then biopharma need to quickly find a way of understanding what matters. Knowing what really matters, especially to patients, could be a huge differentiator.


But what does matter to patients? And how can the industry find out what really matters to them? Not surprisingly, the simple answer is listening to patients, as opposed to trying to manage them and making decisions on their behalf. Conducting workshops that serve as a venue for patients to discuss their challenges, needs and ideas is a good place to start. Conversations with patients can generate multiple insights and enable a community-first approach to developing solutions, where patients act as co-creators in the design process.


Essentially, the approach to patients should be human-centric, rather than disease-centric. Knowing what matters to patients is going beyond what is clinically needed to target a disease, and moving towards developing therapeutic services that are overall solutions to improved living.


What matters to people often involves emotion, sentiment and personal opinion. These concepts can be perplexing to companies, who are dependent on using objective methods of evaluation. So, how can an area as subjective as “what matters to patients” be measured and authentically assessed?


Before anything else, biopharma companies must evaluate the current business models and metrics they adopt in order to determine whether they give consideration to the subjective aspect of the patient experience. Furthermore, they must identify at which patient journey points they can “meet” the patient. By studying the journey of the patient, companies will begin to realize that there are a number of opportunities to improve customer engagement, and to “be there” for patients.


Here are four measurable areas that matter to patients.

Pharma Guys insight:

Also read “Novartis Respects the Patient Perspective and Pays for It Too”;

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A KOL By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sour. What About POL?

A KOL By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sour. What About POL? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of medical experts (physicians who could be deemed genuine experts) believe the pharmaceutical industry should replace the term Key Opinion Leader (KOL) – according to the results of a new international online survey to be presented today at the Medical Affairs Leaders Forum in Berlin, Germany. The survey was conducted by System Analytic, a company that helps pharmaceutical teams to "identify, map, and engage with their medical experts and key stakeholders." 

According to the Pharma Marketing Glossary, Key Opinion Leaders are physicians who influence their peers' medical practice, including but not limited to prescribing behavior. 

"Pharmaceutical companies hire KOL's to consult for them, to give lectures, to conduct clinical trials, and occasionally to make presentations on their behalf at regulatory meetings or hearings." (see "The Secret Lives of Big Pharma's 'Thought Leaders'").

It's a well-known fact that KOLs often are chosen more for their high prescribing habits than for their knowledge or other attributes that would enable them to influence their peers. The recommendation to change the name follows concerns by the senior medical community (who participated in the research) that the term ‘KOL’ is too ‘closely associated with the world of marketing’ and is often ‘used inappropriately’ for people who do not necessarily warrant the title.

But how do pharmaceutical executives feel about changing the name? What name should be used instead? And, most importantly, will changing the name really change the game?

Find out here...

Pharma Guys insight:

Although this issue is being hotly debated in Europe, I have not heard about it here in the US. I doubt that changing the name will happen given how deeply rooted it is in the pharma marketing lexicon. Think of all the job descriptions and consultant speak that would have to change. Besides, it wouldn't change how pharma chooses KOLs -- the best qualification would still be number of scripts written.

Speaking of opinion leaders, what about patient opinion leaders (POLs), which is a term used a lot these days to describe patients who have an influence over other patients, especially in online venues such as social media? I don't give a rat's ass about what you call them, but I do care that their relationships with pharmaceutical companies be transparent. For more on that read "Patient Centricity, Transparency, & Pharma’s Reputation." 

What do think are best practices that should govern pharma's collaboration with online "Patient Opinion Leaders" (POLs)? Take my survey here.

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