2018 Year in Preview
Three members of the MicroMass leadership team offered contributions to the November/December issue of PharmaVOICE.
PharmaVOICE 100 honoree | 2012
On Innovation and Evolution
Conservative, inflexible, cautious, circumspect — taken together, these are appropriate definitions for a well-established pharma institution operating in a highly regulated, sensitive environment. But when you look at the other organisms in this environment and see how quickly they are changing, the description takes on a negative connotation and represents an entity at risk of being left behind or becoming irrelevant. That’s where pharma is at today. Their customers have changed greatly in the last few years, yet pharma as a whole is too rigid and structured. Frankly, it operates much of the same way it has for the past decade. However, there are some encouraging signs of change, and 2018 may be the year that pharma shakes off the cobwebs and catches up.
The environment already provides plenty of pressure to change. Pharma must continue to adapt in order to flourish. Healthcare and drug pricing concerns are resulting in operational shifts to strategies like value-based pricing and stronger health economics studies. The research shows that it’s not so much that consumers want simplified advertising, but rather that the traditional approach does not have the desired effect or may even have a negative effect. Finally, larger pharma organizations have begun to adopt new structures and approaches to better deliver on the real-world needs of patients.
It appears that pharma has begun to shift with the winds of change. Pharma provides patients with novel approaches, and perhaps 2018 is the year that pharma operates with innovation that resembles their products.
Vice President, Scientific Strategy
On Real-World Outcomes
“Real-world scenarios are not mirror images of the therapeutic experience within the controlled clinical trial protocol,” she says. “During the clinical study, patients are offered support and a framework, whereas when patients start on a new drug, they often don’t have the necessary support to work in meal requirements, for example, into their daily schedule.”
Ms. Zipfel says pharma companies should provide solutions that change patient behaviors and address barriers to achieving ideal efficacy in the real world. This includes ways to improve therapy adherence, maximize patient self-efficacy, and achieve optimal therapeutic efficacy.
EVP, Client Service Director
On Treatment to Wellness
The challenge for many companies, however, is to rethink what wellness means from the point of view of the patient.
According to John Hamilton, executive VP, client service director at MicroMass Communications, the millions of dollars pharma companies provide to support patients through their treatment journey typically focus on educating patients about their disease, ensuring access, and reminding them to take their medication.
“Unfortunately, this conventional approach often fails to address the social and emotional aspects of patient care,” Mr. Hamilton says. “If patients are not able to cope with anxiety — or communicate with their family and healthcare team — it is unlikely they will succeed on therapy. Simply telling a patient to ‘think positive thoughts’ or ‘share their feelings’ provides little practical value to a patient recently diagnosed with breast cancer or a COPD patient who has just been discharged from the emergency room.”
What’s needed is a whole patient approach that addresses the clinical, social, and emotional aspects of living with a chronic disease or cancer.
“Built on a behavioral science foundation, this approach should incorporate evidence-based techniques such as motivational interviewing, problem solving, and cognitive behavioral techniques to help patients build coping, communication, and self-management skills,” Mr. Hamilton says. “The result is that patients become able to cope with anxiety and distress, solve problems they face every day in managing their condition, and engage their healthcare team in productive two-way dialogue.”