How patient centricity and innovation combine for launch success

Posted in April 2023

Branding Science recently convened a round table discussion with senior leaders in the pharmaceutical industry on the topic of ‘how patient centricity and innovation combine for launch success’. A summary of the discussion and some key takeaways can be found below:

Are pharma companies truly patient centric? Based on external PR, the answer is almost always ‘yes’. However, many companies may only pay lip service to the idea of patient centricity, rather than truly embracing it.

One of the main barriers to patient centricity in the pharmaceutical industry is the fact that the end user (ie the patient) is often not the direct customer. This can lead to a disconnect between the company and the lived experience of patients. Regulatory restrictions, industry regulations, cost, and the mindset of the organization can all exacerbate this disconnect.

Pharmaceutical companies also tend to be risk-averse, driven more by the needs of shareholders than the needs of patients. The highly profitable nature of the industry may reduce the incentive for boldness and limit creative thinking, which can result in a lack of patient centricity and absence of innovation. By way of example, pharma companies could have a significant impact on diabetes (and Met X) if they invested in patient centric diet and modification initiatives, but the cost versus likely return can curtail such initiatives.

However, smaller companies, especially biotechs that manufacture and market products for rare diseases, are more nimble and can rapidly adapt their approaches to accelerate commercial success. They recognize that without such a connection to the patient, commercial success is highly unlikely. However, they frequently lack the bureaucracy of their bigger cousins and recognise that boldness is required to drive commercial success.

External factors, such as the requirements of regulators like the FDA and EMA to include patient perspectives in trial design, are driving change. The pharma industry is exceptionally good at capturing patient data in a way that other groups, such as universities, struggle to do. Full use of this data will enable innovative therapies to be developed in the future.

The companies that are truly patient centric are those that engage patients and healthcare professionals early on in the process of product development. By listening to patient needs, identifying what needs to change to have a meaningful impact, and being bold in decision making and execution, these companies can not only deliver patient centricity but also drive superior shareholder returns.

Innovation doesn’t have to be huge; it just needs to make things better. The companies that adopt this approach will be the ones to watch as the industry continues to evolve.

Overall, patient centricity and innovation are two key factors that can drive success in pharmaceutical product launches. Although there are many barriers to achieving patient centricity and bringing true innovation to the market, the companies that adopt a patient-centric approach, listen to patients’ needs, identify areas for meaningful change, and are bold in decision making and execution, will be the ones to lead the way in this rapidly evolving industry.

For more information on how Branding Science can help your organisation become more patient centric, contact us today.