The pharma industry exists because patients exist. So there is increasing recognition that understanding and communicating with patients is vital.
This patient focus has become commonplace over the past few years, and it’s easy to think that it’s a straightforward thing to do. But patient focus runs much deeper than that; it is not simply compassion. Our health economies are trying to reward what is most important, so pharma companies are shifting from providing volume (i.e. selling as many medicines as possible) to one of value (i.e. providing the greatest health possible).
As an organiser of industry events and published articles, we have a responsibility to ensure the patient voice is heard and understood. We also have an opportunity to magnify the patient voice so it can be received by many. So the involvement of patients in our conferences is essential.
To create this Patient Policy, we have consulted with patients to understand how to accommodate everyone at our events. It will develop over time, so feedback or suggestions are welcomed – please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Free patient passes are available at every eyeforpharma event
Patients who wish to attend one of our conferences may now do so free of charge, subject to availability, on a first-come first-served basis. This invitation is extended to non-profit patient organisations. All attendees must register in advance through our website or by contacting our staff.
The number of passes available are at eyeforpharma’s discretion according to the needs of each specific event. If you would like to attend, please contact us as early as possible, in order that we can be sure to organize catering and access requirements you may have. Please ensure that you fully express your specific requirements to us. You can reach us through any of our event websites, or by writing to Paul Simms on email@example.com.
2. Patient speakers will appear at every event - and have travel & accommodation expenses fully covered
In addition, patients who join us onstage for a presentation or as part of a panel session will have their pre-agreed travel and accommodation expenses covered. These expenses will be paid within 30 days of invoicing eyeforpharma, even if this is prior to the conference.
We’d like to work with you on an individual basis to choose a travel and accommodation plan that is suitable for you. Generally, we would like to accommodate you in the same venue that the conference is taking place, and we almost always reserve a ‘room block’ to ensure there are enough of these rooms available in advance.
Note: We are normally required by a hotel to ‘release’ this room block approximately one month before the conference, so from that point it is not possible for us to guarantee a room, at which point – should the rooms run out – we shall try and find somewhere as close as possible, of the same or better standard, in consultation with you.
We only have a fixed number of positions for patient speakers for each event, so please contact either myself or the organizer of one of our events as early as possible, expressing your interest and what you would like to present.
Note: Depending on the topic, some events will have more on-stage opportunities than others; for example, our Market Access Summit held in April 2016 had 2 patient speakers, while our Patient Summit Europe held in October 2016 had 18 patient speakers (more than half of all speakers).
Generally, we organize our speaker line-ups around 20 weeks (5 months) before the event takes place, as this is typically when we ‘launch’ the event. However, do contact us irrespective of the timing, as there are sometimes opportunities which become available due to drop-outs.
Note: Not every patient feels at ease speaking in front of a large audience. However, we want important messages to be heard. If you would like support of any type, please get in touch directly.
3. Patients are involved in the design of our events
At eyeforpharma, we believe our strength comes from the research we conduct in order to understand industry challenges and construct a conference agenda. Typically, we will make around 50-100 in-depth phone calls, as well as reviewing articles, legislation and new innovations, for each event.
A vital component of this research is, of course, working with patients directly, to shape and review our agendas. For most of our agendas we now work with a panel of patient consultants who will express their open opinions from the outset, and then review agendas once pieced together. Please get in touch if you would like to be part of a panel.
4. We strive to meet ‘Patients Included’ criteria
We aim to meet and surpass the Patients Included criteria at our conferences, and will display the logo in the cases where we have achieved these criteria. Patients Included is a voluntary international standard which sets out the minimum expected requirements for patient involvement. Many of the items are already covered in the below, but you can learn more at https://patientsincluded.org.
Some examples of individual conferences where we have satisfied the Patients Included criteria include:
One important requirement of the Patients Included standard is to make the event available digitally as far as possible, for those unable to attend. We cannot make video recordings for of all our events, however we always make audio recordings, available on-demand at any time online. Any patient is able to access this free of charge, by writing a simple email to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, where I will provide a unique log-in.
We also strive to make our events easy for those at home to follow ‘live’ with social media, with hashtags and twitter handles published well in advance.
Our LinkedIn channels and groups are also regularly updated with articles and excerpts from our conferences, so make sure you tune into those.
5. Bringing it to you
Because we are aware that many patients can´t attend our meetings due to health limitations, work, distance or other reasons, we want to bring the conferences to patients. As well as the on-demand and social media efforts mentioned above, we have an in-house editorial team who typically piece together several articles with every conference that takes place.
We also see our website as a vital platform for columnists like Jill Donahue, Emma D’Arcy and Mariel Metcalfe who are great at sharing their ideas for improving patient involvement and outcomes.
6. Rewarding what matters
We are proud that we have the first and only industry Award Ceremony dedicated to the real value produced in the pharmaceutical industry – the value for patients and customer, contrasting with other award ceremonies which tend to celebrate ‘best sales rep’, ‘best digital campaign’ and ‘best product launch’ without acknowledging patient reaction.
In 2016, eyeforpharma’s Chairman Paul Simms co-founded the Aurora Project, a volunteer group designed to bring the industry together to focus on patient centricity, illuminating the right path forward. This group has a huge amount of momentum, and you will see various initiatives appearing gradually. To find out more, click here.
We have many projects planned for 2017-18, all designed to improve patient experiences. Many of these are still in their early development and have not yet been announced, however I’m excited and hopeful that their impact on patient communities will be strong.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch directly.
The eyeforpharma team