By Noa Lapidot, Vaica
Olivia R. Van Wyck, contributor
Over many years, drug companies have developed and marketed hundreds of drugs. Some drugs have saved numerous lives and cured once deadly diseases. There have also been drugs that caused harm. During the development process, drug companies attempt to formulate drugs in such a way that makes them easier to take. Examples of this are liquid formulations such as suspensions or syrups which are easier to swallow than pills. Oral disintegrating tablets make it easier for patients who have trouble swallowing pills as well. Another example are extended release capsules or tablets which reduces the amount of times the patient has to take medication during the day. These innovations are each meant to help the patients and make it easier for them to take their medications. The end result of this would be increased medication adherence.
These practices are examples of patient centricity. Patient centric care has been a long time dream of the healthcare community; Providers, drug companies, medical institutions, etc., all desire optimal and personal treatment plans for each of their patients. In an article on patient centricity, the author stated that patient centricity can be defined as “to identify and seize the opportunity to create value for patients — and to do so with patients whenever it’s feasible”. Recently, drug companies have added the patient centricity focus to a new area of drug development: clinical trials. In rare disease clinical trials, investigators have included patients and their input into the development and conduction of clinical trials in order to create the best treatment for patients. The aforementioned article also stated that the investigators got in contact with the online group chat rooms that patients with rare diseases engaged in, and were able to communicate with a large amount of patients on what they would prefer for a clinical trial as well as a treatment.
I believe this recent addition of patient input in patient trials will prove itself as very beneficial. It is a win-win since both the patients and the investigators gain from this practice. The patients get to say what they would like about the drugs during the trials, and in return, the investigators will be able to develop better drugs and get better results. Hopefully, when the new drugs come on the market, their use will be better while increasing medication adherence. Personally, I think the collaboration is a great idea. When everyone works together, better results are a given. Same goes for continuation of care, the goal is to always put the patient in the center and focus on the specific patient’s needs.