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Products & Services Patient Focused Services Patient Advocacy Groups

Patient Advocacy: How Top Pharma Companies Partner with Advocacy Groups to Shape Policy, Improve Access, and Boost Patient Voice in the United States

ID: PSM-356


73 Info Graphics

23 Data Graphics

300+ Metrics

40 Narratives

Pages: 111

Published: 2019

Delivery Format: Shipped


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As treatment options in the United States become more complex and plentiful, pharmaceutical manufacturers are increasingly relying on their relationships with patient advocacy groups to educate the public about new treatments and scientific advancements.

Best Practices, LLC undertook this benchmarking research to identify effective practices in patient advocacy group collaboration and relationship management
in the United States. This report examines ideal structures and skill sets for pharma groups that deal with advocacy groups, investment and resource levels, regulatory impact, top challenges, and emerging trends that will define the future of successful manufacturer-advocacy collaboration in the US.

Industries Profiled:
Biopharmaceutical; Biotech; Communications; Pharmaceutical; Medical; Manufacturing; Consumer Products; Diagnostic; Medical Device; Health Care

Companies Profiled:
Acceleron Pharma; Agendia; Alnylam Pharmaceuticals; Amicus Therapeutics; ApotheCom; Astellas; AveXis; AVROBIO; Baldwin Area Medical Center; Bayer; Biogen; Blue Earth Diagnostics; Boehringer Ingelheim; CRISPR Therapeutics; Daiichi Sankyo; Dermira; Forum Pharmaceuticals; Grifols; GlaxoSmithKline ; Genzyme; Horizon Pharma; Incyte; Ipsen; Janssen; Johnson & Johnson; Lexicon Pharmaceuticals; Mallinckrodt; Milestone Pharmaceuticals; Natera; Novartis; Novo Nordisk; OTSUKA; Pfizer; Pharmacyclics; Reata Pharmaceuticals; Retrophin; Sage Therapeutics; Spark Therapeutics; Theravance; Ultragenyx; Wave Life Sciences; Zimmer Biomet; Zogenix

Study Snapshot

Best Practices, LLC engaged 48 leaders supporting patient advocacy initiatives at 43 biopharmaceutical companies in the United States through a benchmarking survey.

Key topics covered in this report include:

  • Understanding the “advocacy” landscape in the United States
  • Effective practices for working with potentially hostile patient advocacy groups
  • Advocacy structures that work best
  • Advocacy tools
  • Critical competencies of advocacy professionals
  • Advocacy lessons learned from socially sensitive or stigmatized disease areas
  • Profiling advocacy group experience & expertise

Key Findings

Select key insights uncovered from this report are noted below. Detailed findings are available in the full report.

  • Structuring high performance pharma advocacy groups: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to structure for pharma patient advocacy groups. However, favoring a centralized structure is most common with more than 60% of participants adopting it. Only 19% have decentralized structure and 15% have hybrid structure. More than half of the companies consider their advocacy group structure effective.

  • Companies use soft metrics to assess patient advocacy effectiveness: Effective advocacy groups in pharma develop a system to measure the effectiveness of their activities and relationships. Intangible metrics like action taken by stakeholders, perception changes, sustainability of program, and progress measured against set goals are commonly used.

  • Managing relationships within controversial/social stigma areas: Develop a structured approach to understand, engage and manage special interest groups in controversial disease state areas. To accomplish this, companies use community awareness programs. Prescriber education, patient education disease awareness websites and public relations also are effective. Be respectful of all advocacy groups’ interests and views to build relationships. It helps to understand group priorities and map points of conflict and common interests. Transparency in interactions helps to build trust, which can be accomplished by communicating regularly and sharing information.

Table of Contents

Overviewpgs. 3-11
Research Overviewpg. 4
Universe of Learningpg. 5
Pharmaceutical Advocacypg. 6
Key Recommendationspg. 7
Key Findingspgs. 8-11
Patient Advocacy Functional Structurepgs. 12-21
Patient Advocacy Partner Coordination & Effectivenesspgs. 22-25
Developing & Optimizing Patient Advocacy Partnershipspgs. 26-30
Managing Relationships Within Controversial Disease Statespgs. 31-39
Current Trends & Future Directionspgs. 40-44
Regulatory Impact on Patient Advocacypgs. 45-51
Use of Technology, Future Trends & Issuespgs. 52-56
Ethics and Patient Advocacy Relationspgs. 57-60
Lessons Learnedpgs. 61-69
Participants’ Profilepgs. 70-72
Appendixpgs. 73-110
About Best Practices, LLCpg. 111

    List of Charts & Exhibits

    I. Patient Advocacy Functional Structure

    • Structure of company’s patient advocacy function
    • Efficacy of current structure of patient advocacy function
    • Optimal structure for an internal patient advocacy group with reasons
    • Interview narrative around company-sponsored summits
    • Ensuring that patient advocacy organizations may properly contact or communicate with your company’s patient advocacy functional personnel
    • Interview narratives on using Medical Affairs as a contact point
    • Estimated number of FTEs dedicated to patient advocacy activities
    • Patient advocacy experience of benchmark partners
    • Number of patient advocacy groups currently supported by benchmark companies and expected to support in the coming year

    II. Patient Advocacy Partner Coordination & Effectiveness

    • Effective metrics for measuring the success of patient advocacy activities and relationships
    • Effective approaches designed to coordinate relationships with patient advocacy groups
    • Effective methods for prioritizing objectives when a patient advocacy group maintains relationships with multiple brands or therapeutic areas

    III. Developing & Optimizing Patient Advocacy Partnerships

    • Importance of patient advocacy collaborations at different lifecycle stages
    • Most important forms of education, program support, and grants/sponsorships during each of the four key lifecycle stages
    • Best approaches to deploy advocacy grants/sponsorships for early-stage support with advocacy groups
    • Effective strategies for gaining early-stage support with advocacy groups

    IV. Managing Relationships Within Controversial Disease States

    • Interview narrative around demonstrating the benefits of a collaborative relationship to advocacy groups
    • Most critical considerations when managing collaboration with an advocacy group regarding therapies that may trigger controversy or social stigma
    • Interview narrative around education being a key element when working in areas with a social stigma
    • Most effective approaches in educating the market on conditions that may be highly controversial or have a social stigma
    • Special interest groups’ impact
    • Interview narrative around transparency being key to collaborating on social stigma disease areas
    • Most effective strategies and tactics in minimizing opposition from patient advocacy or other special interest groups against a therapy that could be considered controversial
    • Interview narrative around listening to external partners for achieving success with advocacy groups

    V. Current Trends & Future Directions

    • Interview narrative around developing an advocacy approach depending upon the maturity level of a patient advocacy group
    • Current factors in the marketplace that should receive the greatest consideration with respect to patient advocacy issues
    • Interview narrative around working on the overall negative attitude toward pharma companies
    • Interview narrative around taking inputs into development process from patient advocacy groups

    VI. Regulatory Impact on Patient Advocacy

    • Interview narrative around patient groups’ involvement in drug development
    • Interview narrative around engagement of patient groups in many aspects of clinical studies
    • Funding of clinical trial studies by patient advocacy groups
    • Impact of initiatives such as the 21st Century Cures Act on patient advocacy strategies and tactics to address them
    • Interview narrative around patient groups’ interaction with regulatory agencies
    • Impact of patient involvement in government regulatory agencies, including the FDA and the Prescription Drug User Fee Act on advocacy initiatives within benchmark companies

    VII. Use of Technology, Future Trends & Issues

    • Importance of listed platforms in delivering education to patient groups
    • Issues or opportunities foreseen as important for patient advocacy over the next 36 months
    • Interview narrative around understanding external group’s perspective to build effective relationship
    • Maintaining strong relationships with existing advocacy groups, while also expanding to regional groups and providing strong support to national policies

    VIII. Ethics and Patient Advocacy Relations

    • Interview narrative around abiding to ethical boundaries when interacting with patient groups
    • Ethical boundaries adhered to while working with patient advocacy groups
    • Interview narrative on the do’s and don’ts for effective advocacy relationships

    IX. Lessons Learned

    • Interview narrative: Not all patient advocacy groups are effective organizations
    • Most “painful” lessons learned by benchmark partners about relationships with patient advocacy groups
    • Interview narrative around one of the biggest concerns that external cancer advocacy groups have and one of the ways to mitigate it
    • Top success stories about relationships with patient advocacy groups
    • Interview narrative around working with competitors to advance patient welfare
    • Interview narrative around building relations
    • Interview narrative: Patient groups are not always effective in the policy-making process
    • Additional insights in patient advocacy

    X. Participants’ Profile

    • Demographics of benchmark partners
    • Therapeutic area represented by benchmark partners

    XI. Appendix

    • Voices from the field: Optimal structure for an internal patient advocacy group along with reasons
    • Voices from the field: Organization of patient advocacy in a formal structure and improving the structure
    • Voices from the field: Organization of patient advocacy in an informal structure and improving the structure
    • Voices from the field: Top collaboration issues when working with socially sensitive diseases
    • Voices from the field: Best approaches to minimize opposition from special interest groups
    • Voices from the field: Current issues challenging patient advocacy
    • Voices from the field: Impact of new regulations and addressing them
    • Voices from the field: Patient involvement in government regulatory agencies
    • Voices from the field: Future patient advocacy issues and opportunities
    • Voices from the field: Patient advocacy, religious or other special interest groups having a greater impact
    • Voices from the field: Ethical boundaries while working with patient advocacy groups
    • Voices from the field: Painful lessons learned about relationships with patient advocacy groups
    • Voices from the field: Success stories about relationships with patient advocacy groups
    • Voices from the field: Benchmark partners’ experience in working with patient advocacy groups