Taren Grom, Editor
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Patients as people
The term patient-centricity has been used so frequently — including in the pages of PharmaVOICE — that it has almost begun to lose meaning … almost. Patient empowerment began to erode the traditional power center of medicine — the doctor — with the first direct-to-consumer advertising, first in print in the 1980s and then with regularity on television a decade later. A historical footnote, Boots aired the first broadcast television commercial in the United States for a prescription drug, the pain reliever Rufen in 1983. Within 48 hours of the ad’s airing, the federal government told the company to take it down. A decade later, the Internet gave people access to medical information in a way that had never been available before; the human genome was decoded providing specific insights into one’s genetic makeup; and the digitization of, well everything, continues to transform the industry.
These are just a few of the many factors that have put patients squarely in the middle of the healthcare conversation. And pharmaceutical companies and their partners are striving to keep pace. Patient engagement, patient journeys, patient-centered trials, patient communities, and so on, are concepts that require different thinking, different strategies, and different processes in pursuit of different outcomes.
Even the term “patient” is being re-evaluated. Am I a patient if I am not sick but I am pursuing a healthier lifestyle? Are you a patient if you only have an annual check up? What it means to be a patient in today’s world is very different from even five years ago, and light years away from the experience 20 years ago.
In this issue, we explore a number of “patient” areas of interest, from marketing to clinical trials to engagement to communities and the evolution that is happening across the continuum. At the heart of much of the change is technology, which is pushing the boundaries beyond what anybody might have expected.
As reported in this month’s cover story, according to one recent study, 77% of patients start their health journey online beginning at a search engine. This action alone provides marketers huge opportunities as well as challenges to connect with patients or caregivers at the very start of the engagement cycle leading to new health opportunities.
And things are changing within drug development, and a culture shift continues to redefine the old paradigms. Companies large and small, regulators, and even new laws are aiming to put the patient truly at the center of drug research and development.
As we report in this issue, clinical trials and traditional marketing efforts are no longer the only way to reach today’s patient consumer. To succeed in the era of digital and health savvy consumers, the industry needs to enlist a more proactive patient engagement strategy that anticipates and meets the evolving needs and wants of patients both in clinical trials and out.
Pharmaceutical companies need to create more value for consumers by using advanced technology and partnerships that lead to more innovative ways to engage them.
Companies large and small are aiming to put patients truly at the center of drug development.
Today’s marketers use new strategies to set brands up for success in an ever-changing environment.
Patient communities play a critically important role in the rare disease arena.
Coming in October 2017
A Connected Healthcare Life
The Launch Pad — Preparing for a Product Launch
What Do Millennials Really Want?
Disease State: Infectious Diseases
Rare Disease: Regulatory Challenges
Showcase Features: Patient Solutions & Supply Chain Management
Volume 17 • Number 8
Publisher Lisa Banket
Editor Taren Grom
Creative Director Marah Walsh
Director of Sales
National Account Manager
Webcast Network Producer
by PharmaLinx LLC, Titusville, NJ
Printed in the U.S.A.
Volume Seventeen, Number Eight
PharmaVoice (ISSN: 1932961X) is published monthly except joint issues in July/Aug. and Nov./Dec., by PharmaLinx LLC, P.O. Box 327, Titusville, NJ 08560. Periodicals postage paid at Titusville, NJ 08560 and additional mailing offices.
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