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UCB: Patient centricity should move a business forward

Pharma may become obsolete if it does not include the patient voice, says Lode Dewulf

UCB sign 

Companies need to engage with patients in order to achieve patient centricity, says UCB's chief patient affairs officer Lode Dewulf.

Speaking exclusively to PMLiVE, Dewulf discussed the role of patient centricity within pharma and whose role it is to drive it and to make it happen.

He said: “Patient centricity is not about having everyone, morning to evening, doing nothing but sitting and thinking about patients. Rather, it is about bringing in the patient's perspective at the relevant decision moments and points. To do this, you need to decide who needs to engage with patients, and when, and how.

Dewulf sees two main organisational models being developed to support companies that want to be more patient-centric.

“Several companies are deploying a separate dedicated department that owns and manages all engagement with patients and patient advocates, while other companies appoint a 'patient centricity leader' (many titles exist) with a very small corporate team to support and advise everyone in the company engaging with patient-centricity.

“Both approaches offer advantages, and UCB is among the companies opted for the second model. It is important to note, however, that today there is not yet any data to prove which model is better or to help decide which model best fits which company.

Dewulf also discussed the importance of leadership when it comes to creating patient centricity within a company, noting how some companies, including AstraZeneca, Leo, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer and Sanofi, have created specific corporate roles to drive the culture change to patient centricity.

These positions almost all report, directly or indirectly, to the CEO, whose role in setting the tone and demonstrating the desired behaviour cannot be overstated. 

“A lot of companies' CEOs cite the patient voice as one of their key strategic issues but when they have to make the tough calls, some may still go back to productivity and putting product before patient,” he said.

“The growing role of the patient's perspective in all health-related decision making is unstoppable. Therefore, if you don't start working on including the patient voice, your company and your products risk becoming obsolete.”

• Dewulf will be speaking about patient centricity at eyeforpharma's Barcelona 2015 conference on March 24

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

23rd March 2015

From: Marketing



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