Week in Review: Putting Patients First

Week in Review: Putting Patients First

03.14.14 | By Kaelan Hollon

This week we focused on the role of patients within the R&D process, from discovery to market access. While the industry is continually striving to create new medicines, the more that patients, stakeholders, advocates and public and private sector leaders contribute feedback, ideas and ingenuity to the research and development (R&D) process, the better the likelihood of developing the next big breakthrough that will save or improve lives.

On Tuesday, we hosted a Research in Your Backyard event in Winston-Salem, N.C., to highlight clinical trials throughout the city. Since 1999, Winston-Salem has conducted around 1,500 trials for the development of potential new medicines, transforming the once tobacco-centered city into a hub for R&D. One-time clinical trial participant Laura Hull spoke of her participation and the "hope and sense of purpose" that it gave her to be a part of the process. Currently, there are more than 100 trials recruiting in the Piedmont Triad region of N.C., and we cannot thank participants like Laura Hull enough for their willingness to join the fight against diseases. Without patient involvement in the R&D process, including clinical trial participation, battling our nation's most devastating diseases would truly be a one-sided endeavor. 

This endeavor, however, should involve all Americans who are willing and able to participate. On Wednesday, we announced our collaboration with the National Minority Quality Forum in launching a national campaign to help increase diversity in clinical trials. The R&D process for new medications can be a long and bumpy road, and low participation in clinical trials can often delay patient access to new medications. The I'm In campaign aims to increase clinical research participation, particularly among minority populations, with the hope of reducing health disparities in the future. Currently, only five percent of African Americans and one percent of Hispanics participate in clinical trial research – increased diversity could help researchers find better ways to fight diseases that disproportionately impact certain populations. Clinical trial participation creates hope for so many patients across the nation. Learn more about I'm In and how you can join here www.JoinImIn.org.

Just as important as clinical trial participation is ensuring other patients have access to these medications once they reach the market. The Washington Post published an article this week highlighting patient difficulties in receiving prescription pain medication due to media spotlighting misuse and abuse. In reality, only one percent of patients without a prior history of addiction become dependent on opioids during long-term treatment for chronic pain, and we thank The Washington Post for addressing the patient side of this story. To help improve their everyday lives, it is vitally important that patient access to necessary medications is preserved.

We'll continue to keep you updated on the role of the industry in driving new innovations, as well as share information about clinical trials in your area. Look for a new Medicines in Development report in the coming weeks and keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook.​

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