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February 09, 2016.
Ahead of her keynote presentation at this year's eyeforpharma Barcelona event (March 15-17), Jane Griffiths, Company Group Chairman, Janssen EMEA, talks to Pharm Exec about how the relationship between industry and patients is maturing.
PharmExec: What would you say has changed or evolved in the field of patient-centric leadership in the last 12 months?
Jane Griffiths: The importance of the patient continues to be central to everything we do; at Janssen there is even stronger focus on that as we go forward. We are better at aligning our activities by putting in heads of patient engagement in each of our countries and at EMEA level.
We are focusing more time on gaining patients’ insights, which are critical to our understanding of how to design clinical trials better, how to develop better communications to patients, and how to design solutions and patient support programs that will encourage improved patient adherence and understanding of their medication. A lot of that is down to doing more listening to the patients and what they need.
We’re also seeing much more organization within the patient community. There’s better governance amongst advocacy groups, better codes of how they should interact with industry. What this shows is that the relationship between our industry and patients is maturing.
Do you feel that trust of the industry improving?
We’re working hard on that as a company and an industry. In the past there has been criticism about transparency and over the last couple of years we’ve committed to transparency in clinical trial data. We have established an agreement with Yale University where we make our clinical trial data open for legitimate scientific questions to be answered through analysis. That has been a major step forward.
However, one of the things I would like to see is a greater understanding within society of what the industry does, of what a pharmaceutical company does; how research is conducted and what is involved in it; why we have interactions with healthcare professionals (HCPs) beyond the sales and marketing of medicine. The model of how new medicines are developed and how innovation is brought to patients is not well understood. If we as an industry could communicate the way the model works more extensively than we currently do, it would put transparency around clinical trials and transfers of value to HCPs, for example, into more context.
Do you envisage any problems with renewed negative focus on the industry this year when EFPIA companies publish data on their transfers of value to HCPs, in accordance with the EFPIA Code?
Due to the lack of understanding about why the industry works together with HCPs, this new level of transparency will bring a new level of scrutiny for sure. We have to a) put it into context and b) reassure HCPs that transparency around transfers of value is the right thing to do, and communicate to them what the benefits will be. This will be a journey, an evolution; we’ve set this EFPIA deadline date (30 June) and delivered a lot of education around the transfers of value issue, but that education will continue far beyond the deadline. Our aim is that society and patients in general see an open and positive relationship between companies and the people who prescribe medicines.
The collaboration between the industry and HCPs is one that benefits patients and the transfers of value have to be seen in context. The relationship has delivered many innovative medicines over the years and changed the way diseases are being treated. Bringing greater transparency to that process in a well-regulated business such as ours is going to strengthen that collaboration in the future.